Monday, May 18th, 2009
I wrote a paper about this topic some time ago, but thought I would post a more parsimonnious version of the top ten reasons treatment fails patients. The point is not to suggest that treatment is always ineffective, just that we have a long way to go to optimizing it for those who struggle.
- Treatment focuses on select objects of addiction and does not address the entire package of addictive behavior (see previous post).
- Treatment time is way too short – often lasting days or a few months, instead of years like other chronic medical conditions.
- Treatment relies heavily on group therapy, an abstinence-based approach, and use of 12-step principles instead of indivdiualizing treatment to patients needs and using a wide range of evidence-based practices.
- Underlying mental health, trauma, and developmental deficitis/constrictions go unaddressed or undertreated.
- Use of medications specifically approved by the FDA to treat addictions, including naltrexone, acamprosate, buprenorphine, and methadone, are underutilized in treatment.
- Treatment overly focuses on the pathological side of the equation, and does not encourage interventions based on positive psychology and creativity.
- Treatment programs forget they are running a business, and that patients really are customers, even when they are mandated to treatment. What would treatment be like if funding was based on outcomes specific to customer satisfaction?
- Too much emphasis is placed on stage models of treatment when there is a much stronger base of evidence for universal processes of change.
- Treatment programs see less than 10 percent of those in need of help. How can programs better align themselves with the needs of thier community and broaden the use of their resources to help a greater number of people (i.e., population-based medicine).
- Treatment often remains disconnected from other important healthcare and community stakeholders. Disconnects between crimminal justice, primary care medicine, policy makers, and others mean many people fall through the cracks and ultimately fail treatment.
Perhaps you can add a few to the list?