TORONTO, Feb. 3, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- For over fifty years the treatment industry has categorically failed. Experience of this writer as well as objective data has demonstrated that 3-5% of individuals who complete 12 Step based government residential treatment will remain "sober" for a year or more. Additionally, according to the Baldwin Research Institute Inc., over 90% of all treatment in the U.S. is 12-step based and over 95% teach the disease concept, the almost identical numbers exist in Canada. From any perspective and surely from a business perspective, a 95% failure rate is utterly unacceptable. Why does society and the medical/clinical community accept these findings? The answer seems to be "this is how we have always done it."
The answer to the above problem is multi-faceted and unlike what the treatment industry readily offers, which is one-size-fits-all, i.e., don't drink, go to meetings, call your sponsor, read the Big Book, pray and help others. As the clinical director of Canadian Addiction Recovery Network stated "It is highly unlikely that a one-treatment-for-all, cookie cutter approach will work for all patients suffering from addictive disorders." Additionally, it is not uncommon when these individuals relapse for professionals to blame the addict for not having admitted powerlessness, not having prayed enough and not having attended enough meetings.
Bottom line is that the answer doesn't exist and the suggestion that a patient can get well if they only are willing to "thoroughly follow our path" is limiting at best and potentially deadly at worst. Dr. Mark Willenbring, former Director at the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism stated, "You don't treat a chronic illness for four weeks and then send the patient to a support group." He went on to state that treatment needs to be multi-faceted, individualized and continuous "for as long as they need it."
For example, a patient had completed ten treatment facility programs in a ten-year span. The longest period of abstinence she was able to accomplish was two years and she stated, "I don't understand why I can't get this, I went to meetings, had multiple sponsors and thought I worked the steps thoroughly." She went on to state, "I just can't get this, there must be something wrong with me."
Additionally, this woman reported that during the two years of continuous sobriety she achieved, she had multiple affairs and eventually divorced and repeatedly told, "at least you stayed sober." Obviously, I am not suggesting this is the experience of everyone that espouses the 12-step method of sobriety, nor am I minimizing the potential benefits of 12-step support; however, I am suggesting that attempting to work steps prior to gaining an understanding and processing core issues is attune to putting the cart before the horse.
A Brief Example of an Alternative Evidenced Based Approach as used by Canadian Addiction Recovery Network.
As the statistics above indicate, there is a disconnect between what is currently being offered to individuals suffering from addiction and evidenced based modalities of treatment. Treatment should be more attune to evidenced based therapy rather than charging individuals for a program (the 12 steps) that is free.
By way of example and not to the exclusion of other modalities, Canadian Addiction Recovery Network focuses on the theoretical approach of Psych based programs and therapy to treat addiction. Attachment theory focuses on providing a "safe base" and a model for secure attachment. The primary concern is addressing underlying core issues created in childhood and assisting the patient to have a corrective experience that includes modeling secure attachment and development of self-love.
Clinical Director Peter states, "using substances becomes an adaptive approach for the individual to regulate emotions, where they have not learned to do so on their own. Addictive behavior acts as a compensatory behavior for a deficiency in the attachment system." Essentially, CARN clinicians are saying that the problem is not drugs, alcohol or addictive behavior (the solutions), but rather, lack of a model to regulate emotions at a young age (the problem) (and other traumatic and abusive situations) must be addressed and furthermore modeled in treatment/therapy. Moreover, Peter states "When the patient learns to self-soothe and regulate their emotions they will stop looking to outside sources such as drugs, sex or relationships to achieve this goal."
The idea of modalities for program basis like Psych based one on one, CBT and Attachment Theory to address addictions are some of the evidenced based models that has been demonstrated to yield successful results. It detours from the all-too-familiar acceptance of current treatment modalities that state we continue to do things the same we because "we have always done it this way." The Canadian Addiction Recovery Network believes that professionals have an ethical obligation to begin seeking alternative approaches to treating addiction and stop accepting failure rates near 100%. Addiction is a current epidemic in Canada and accepting the norm is not an option.
Substance abuse can happen to anyone at any time, whether they have religious leanings or not. At times of great stress or difficulty, many people turn to that spiritual side in order to combat their issues. Religion can work on both sides of this equation and in some cases can make addiction worse.
The three main religions by sheer follower numbers are Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. These three religions have millions of followers all over the world but the ways in which they deal with addiction are entirely different. For a spiritual person within any of these religions, they can offer comfort and motivation or potentially hinder their progress.
Probably the most famous spirituality-based way to battle addiction is the 12 steps program used by Christians. This is used in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and brings forth the idea that putting your life in God's hands will help to rescue you from addiction. This has proven to be controversial though, as it can be seen to hinder more people than it helps.
AA isn't a strictly religious organization, so some non-religious attendees feel like it forces a Christian agenda. While attempting to leave addiction behind, a battle against religious ideology can prove a bridge too far for some addicts. They can feel this sense of shame or seclusion puts them outside of the group and isolates them from others in the group. If this is the case, then the addict is less likely to connect and interact with their sponsor, which can lead to disastrous results.
For those of the Jewish faith, it can be difficult to even admit an addiction to alcohol. Many older members of this community prefer to deny that there is a problem within their faith towards substance abuse. This community can often be closed to the outside world, leaving those within it bound to battle these demons alone.
Some Jewish followers find it easier to mask their detoxing process by going to out-of-town addiction rehabilitation centres, like www.luxurybeachrehab.com. That way, their family is convinced that they are on holiday, when actually, they are going through rehab. Within the younger portion of this religion, this isn't quite as rampant but talking to an older relative about addiction can prove problematic.
The 12-step program can also be used by those of the Jewish faith without too much tweaking. There are some similarities between Jewish and Christian teachings, so some of the steps apply to both. Putting the individual's fate into the wheelhouse of a deity is something that can be applied to many religions, even those that are agnostic.
Finally, we come to Islam, arguably the strictest of the three religions when it comes to substance abuse. Some feel that the zero tolerance policy of the religion that applies to alcohol, drugs, or even less harmful substances, can drive some to bury their addiction. What may start as an act of defiance against the community can become a serious problem for those not equipped to recognize the signs of addiction.
As it's forbidden to even drink alcohol in moderation, many of the members of this religion don't know what addiction looks like. This can lead to a spiral of abuse, as the signs cannot be seen until it is too late. On the other hand, abstinence may help prevent addiction; there is an argument that non-smoking parents are less likely to influence their children towards smoking themselves.
For those within the Islamic community, those with an addiction can feel alienated from others in their faith. This negative feedback loop leads to further substance abuse and issues for the individual. Those that confess their issues to a spiritual leader can risk being shamed or even excluded – which can prove detrimental to the rest of their recovery.
Within Islam, some choose to send their wards with addictions back to their homeland. Many Islamic countries are entirely dry, with serious consequences for those that violate this law. This can be seen as a super strict way to detox, but those dealing with substance abuse on this level must be careful. Detoxing from substances, even alcohol, can prove fatal if done away from medical supervision.
Spirituality can play a big role in the lives of those that are religious or come from a religious background. With substance abuse at an all-time high within most communities, the way that society deals with addiction is clearly no longer working. Spirituality can help or hinder this and those with an addiction need all the assistance they can get.
Evidence based Programs offered by Canadian Addiction Recovery Network yield some of the highest success rates in the country, 60-70% success rates as general numbers is proving to be some of the very best in Canada. Canadian Addiction Recovery Network also offers a lifetime guarantee against relapse to prove that it also stands behind its success stories.
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SOURCE Canadian Addiction Recovery Network