A History Lesson on Addiction Care

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Not all substance abuse treatment is alike.

Robin Stuart, Executive Director of CHI Recovery, Inc. spells out the difference with a lesson in history.

The addiction treatment system in America is a broken and ineffective. The standardized treatment of addiction through rehabs, 12-Step programs, or a combination of the two yields only a 20 percent, or lower success rate. Medical doctors are all too happy to offer pharmaceutical treatments without the benefit of mental health care. But we believe that integrative medicine and community reinforcement offer similar (or better!) results without the dependency on drugs. (Ironically, the 20 percent success rates that result from these options are also seen in testing with sugar water, known as “Placebo Effect”).

Rehabs and doctors do provide important services, however. They can help an individual to detox in a safe environment. They offer enormous emotional support and can be instrumental in fostering the building of a foundation for healing. Physicians can offer pharmacological support that can make recovery (and detox) more successful when they are in conjunction with a comprehensive treatment team that shares protocols. Both of these kinds of providers have their place in recovery, but they do not provide the solutions for attaining long-term sobriety and healthy living on their own.

How can isolated MDs and rehabs be the norm for treatment if they are this inadequate?

Let’s look at what happens in most 30-90 day rehab programs:

The first week you sit in a room while recovering alcoholics and addicts educate you on why addiction is a disease. They’ll show you charts, pictures of the brain, and discuss your “genetic predisposition.”

After you have accepted that you have a disease, they change courses. They spend the rest of their time with you helping to identify the many ways you have caused harm to others through your behaviors.

Then they help you to identify your “use triggers”—when, how and with whom you use—and they encourage you to take responsibility for your actions and make amends to those whom you have injured.

When these goals are achieved you are wrapped up in praise for your accomplishments, given a big “Ra-Ra” for your new-found sobriety, and shipped back to your local NA and AA home meetings.

That’s all great… but most of this information is available in Alcohol and Narcotics Anonymous programs—for free—in almost any city in the world. And here’s the rub: The 12-Steps on their own have been scientifically tested and proven to render little, if any, sustainable recovery results as an isolated treatment for the vast majority of those who have participated in them. That’s because the 12-Steps aren’t a scientifically based treatment for addiction. What’s more, the 12-Steps were written in 1934 and not one single word has been changed since then, regardless of all of the scientific breakthroughs that have been made in addiction treatment. And, just to be clear — the 12-Steps, and the community support that follows, are powerful and are incredibly helpful when they are a component of integrative treatment. They provide a community of understanding individuals, and support in the form of close and open communication. They just are not the answer to lifelong recovery when they stand alone.)

The CASAColumbia research and observations of standard practices show us what most doctors in the nation know:

  • They rarely even look for or ask about addiction.
  • They have ONE DAY in all of medical school to learn about ALL addictions!
  • They consult their medical books to determine medical treatment–and the books are written by pharmaceutical companies, pushing drugs!

So, let’s review: Rehabs spend a week telling you that you have a disease, a second week getting you to accept that you have a disease, then do nothing, ever, to treat the disease. As a treatment doctors are instructed to give you different addictive drugs to get you off your addictive drugs.

To us, at CHI Recovery, this seems like a pretty bad way to treat a disease that affects millions of people in America.

For more information on how CHI Recovery is treating addiction with evidence-based protocols and integrative therapies, click HERE!