7 thoughts on “5 Reasons to Refuse an Addiction Treatment (and 5 Reasons Not to)

  • April 10, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Good article and important points.
    In my experience in developing programs, vital components are these:
    1. Specific spiritual component. Everybody has a spiritual sphere, a belief system, even if they are an atheist. Those beliefs, and the application of them, will directly impact your recovery rate. The treatment needs to integrate those spiritual truths into the psychotherapeutic modalities of CBT, DBT, Motivational Interviewing, etc
    2. Psychological Depth is necessary to get to the core issues. Most facilities have certified addiction counselors (not enough expertise) and use the 12 steps as the main curriculum (not adequate for the intensity of treatment in residential rehab). Addiction is just a stress management skill, albeit, a poor one. If you don’t find out what are the core stressors a person is using their addiction to cope with, the addictive behavior won’t go away.
    3. The addict is attracted to their Drug of Choice. They can’t say no to that addiction object until they become more attracted to something else. This is where the Spiritual sphere plays a powerful part of a powerful and fulfilling life to be attracted to.
    4. When most patients leave rehab, they unfortunately don’t have a psychological strategy to use when life shows up. I teach a specific practical psychological strategy that the patient can use in any situation. In the program, we have them practice it 3-5 times per day, so it will be ingrained in their mind and will come pretty naturally to deal with life outside of Rehab.
    5. Addicts are poor decision makers, but rarely does a rehab teach decision-making mechanics. The most important Rehab component is teaching a sound Decision-Making strategy. This is the core of my curriculum and incorporates cutting edge science blended with spiritual truths. This blends science and faith, and easily integrates Spirit, Mind, and Body.

    As we customize addiction treatment and incorporate sound science, our addiction treatment success will increase and lives will be saved, but the many fly by night facilities need to be closed or improved.

  • April 10, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    Interesting pro’s and con’s!! Being English working in Behavioural Health Care in the US (we don’t have such places in the UK) I have always noticed a difference in the perception of addiction, not least as to whether it’s a disease or not.
    I believe that I have an addictive personality, and my wake up call was when I heard a piece of music that I just couldn’t seem to do without. I played it over and over until my neural traces where firmly enforced and I could then hear it in my head without it being played and I would break out singing without warning…great intervention when behaviourally challenged teens are about to fight or threaten to knock staffs’ teeth out… But, does that make it a disease, and do I want to get rid of it? Absolutely not!!
    The second point I want to highlight is the differing stances towards therapy, and every advocate believes theirs is the best, myself included, but I recall a comment made to me by one of my professors that has always stuck in my head. “It doesn’t matter how much research there is to summarise the efficacy of one particular type of therapy, there will always be one major confounding variable, and that is the teacher’s personality, charisma, empathy, and ability to reach those who need help.”
    On a personal note, I recognised that the song in my head was taking over my life so I took control and stopped playing it for a while, until I wanted to listen to it again, which incidentally hasn’t been for several years!!

    • April 12, 2014 at 9:33 am

      I agree that a therapist who has a combination of empathy and good therapeutic bonding skills will have success with substance abuse clients, but the need to teach personalized relapse prevention techniques that can be used to interrupt cravings is an important part of therapy.

  • April 10, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    This blog post was well written with someone looking for substance abuse treatment. Good job to the author for keeping it dedicated to a person who would probably not be familiar with all the medical terminology and statistics that could have been used instead. Many of us in the med field find ourselves talking jargon when explaining something like this to a client. The points that are made are very realistic. Even though this blog can apply to any sort of addiction, one particular point stood out for those seeking treatment for substance abuse. Even though it has been available for opiate addiction for about a decade now, there are still not enough rehab centers using this medication in my opinion. I have always thought it to be one of the more brilliant decisions by the FDA to allow its use. Being able to tell a client who is addicted to oxy or other opiates, that there is a medication that stops the withdrawals and truly prevents cravings, makes a huge difference in that clients denial, and fear. And, I absolutely agree that the older methods of “shaming” an addict are wrong and I consider that approach to be abusive. Thanks! Susanne S. B.S. in Psychology and Substance Abuse treatment

  • April 17, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Twelve Steps has a proven record of failure. 70% dropout rate at least during the first year, and maybe as high as 90%. Shouldn’t people refuse Twelve Step referrals or Twelve Step components of treatment programs with this dismal track record?

    • May 28, 2014 at 7:14 pm

      Hi TPG, Using your figures, a Twelve Step program is working for 30% of people trying it in their first year. If even 10% of people trying it are saved, that’s a lot of people, dear to their families and friends, who are still with us.
      Twelve Step programs are not the only way to success. But it’s not insignificant that even people without insurance can readily access them.
      I couldn’t withdraw support from a recovery program unless it had a 100% fail rate. Thanks for your thought-provoking post.

  • May 29, 2014 at 1:20 am

    One thing you are overlooking is that many addicts do not have access to the enormous amount of money that is required to choose a quality treatment program. My son has been an out of control addict since college and at 32, in spite of his education, is still doing tree work because of his damaged criminal record due to drugs and alcohol. He does not have insurance. As long as he continues to get worse I see little hope that he will have resources to pay for his treatment. Jail or Death seem a grim reality. What do these kind of addicts do for quality help?


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