Changing the Face of Substance Abuse Treatment

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Changing the Face of Substance Abuse Treatment
Heather Sager
The University of Akron
Dr. Mark McManus

CHANGING THE FACE 2 Introduction
Substance abuse (SA) is an ever growing problem to which we are nowhere near an answer for. There are millions of people in the United States alone suffering from the grip of addiction. Yet, even with all of the different types of treatment that exist, statistically only around seven percent of them achieve sustainable sobriety. Our lack of ability to create more efficient treatment for those suffering from this disease leads many to question why. There have been calls recently for more comprehensive treatment approaches to treatment that include being able to combine other services, such as housing into the programs. It has been shown that basic needs like housing and employment give strength to people suffering from SA in completion and retention of treatment and abstinence. Beyond combining services, there have also been several studies done on SA treatment that is tailored to individual needs. People experience life differently based on who they are. Tailoring treatment programs to include their life experiences based on race, class, gender, sexual orientation, or disability may be another key place to look when it comes to strengthening our treatment system. The realities caused in people’s lives by the intersection of gender, class, race, and so on, are different in scope and effect. One other are that is being looked at in a lot of research is access to services. People with private insurance have a better chance of getting a bed in a treatment facility right away, because they have the resources to pay. People without private insurance are more likely to be made to wait for a bed, which is crucial for someone suffering from SA. These are they many possibilities I will be discussing in this review of literature.

CHANGING THE FACE 3 Literature Review
Studying the efficiencies and inefficiencies of SA treatment is imperative if we ever want to change the odds of sustainable sobriety. Millions of people each year suffer from the disease of addiction, yet the solutions for viable treatment still do not exist. It has been found that mutual-help approaches for SA recovery have been more successful in the fight towards abstinence and healing. The use of 12 step meetings, along with SA treatment seemingly gives the addict a better chance at achieving sobriety. According to Groh, Leonard, Jason, Ferrari, and Davis (2009), self-help and mutual-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) “represent voluntary gathered social support assemblies working together on a common problem with self-directed leadership and the sharing of experiences”. It is no secret that having a support system gives people a better chance to get through any situation. Being surrounded by people who have been through the same difficulties can make people feel more comfortable when it comes to opening up, and more motivated to keep going to these groups if they believe their experiences are helping another achieve wellness. The combination of treatment and 12 step meetings had the highest rates of achieved abstinence (Groh, et. al, 2009). However, getting people to treatment in the first place can be a large problem without other kinds of social support. People’s attitudes and beliefs about their SA behaviors, and their commitment to treatment and recovery, are also influenced by people in their families, peer groups and community (Matto, Miller, & Spera, 2006). Some of the problem with getting people into treatment has to do with being able to find a place where they are comfortable. There are many barriers to this that have to do with more than...
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