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Treating Addiction: Drug & Alcohol Treatment Part 2

Updated on June 30, 2010

A range of pliable and individualized strategies is required and a firm direction for the selection of appropriate programs are needed within the Drug and Alcohol Treatment milieu.

Group therapy by itself has not received overwhelming support from medical clinical studies, however a majority of therapists share the opinion that other therapies can be effective when offered the format of the greater group of patients. Groups have various factors which make them more effective, including one of economy of time and resources, since a number of patients undergoing Drug and Alcohol Treatment can be managed at a single time. They also have the advantage of assisting with the process of identification with other patients in the group who are currently having similar problems, therefore overcoming their own emotions and feelings of isolation. Group therapy empowers patients with a chance to learn from each other and support each other. They can imbue hope, facilitate the process of information sharing and allow for the evolution of role models. The group facilitates patients to discover innovative modes to express themselves, and/or to gain a new and fresh perspective on their own older conflicts in an environment of support and trust.

Professional addiction therapists and other medical professionals are split in their views on the advantages of providing therapies on a residential vs. outpatient structure, and the advantages of longer term vs. shorter term Drug and Alcohol Treatment. When comparing this basis to the analysis of alcoholism problems, there is scant evidence in the medical literature that providing therapies on a residential basis offers any innate advantage to therapy provided on an outpatient or even a day clinic basis.

There have been a relatively small number of controlled clinical studies which quantify the efficacy of therapeutic processes provided on a residential basis against the variety of less intensive options for addicts of narcotics other than alcohol. One study focused on inner city males who were dependent on cocaine-dependent males, who were assigned to either day clinic or inpatient Drug and Alcohol Treatment. The patients had at least a three year long history of cocaine use primarily through the route of smoking. There were no notable pre-treatment differentiations between the various groups in the clinical study, although those patients who were in the group assigned to the inpatient status were more likely to have been given narcotics therapy previously, and experienced more time of domestic, familial, or occupational conflict in the preceding month.

When it came time to compare the sampling with a randomly selected control sample from the same research study, it revealed relatively few differences. Inpatients were somewhat more likely to complete the course of therapeutic program of Drug and Alcohol Treatment, but during a follow-up half a year later there was little if any evidence of significant improvement between the two groups. The day clinic patients tended to have a trend of a slightly higher rate of abstinence from cocaine, while the inpatients resulted in a slightly higher level of abstention from alcoholic beverages.

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