Clinically Speaking is a blog that will allow anyone to learn about Social Work, case presentations in psychotherapy, and the relationship of pop culture in psychology. Come one...come all!!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Addiction Treatment

We are all very aware of the various group therapy treatments, such as NA, AA, GA, SA. Pretty much any "A" you can find, you can become treated. There has been a lot of emphases on treating addictions with medication, as we had spoken about previously, most addictions are organic and since there is a physiological aspect to it from the addiction side, a way to treat has been through medication. Recently, there has been a big push in using Buprenorphine. Which has become the leader in treating: opiate, dependency, detoxification from heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, oxymorphone, fentanyl or other opioids. A big reason in using this specific drug is the low risk it has accompanied with becoming addictive. Furthermore, we know from TV/Movies that depending on the addiction, people do need "detox" themselves in order to "hit the restart button" on their body. Since I am therapist by profession, today's post will focus on the therapy aspects rather than the medical aspects of treatment. 

E-Therapy VS. Face-to-Face Therapy
In the 2011, American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, there was a study conducted that examined the uses of internet/electronic based therapy versus the conventional office/face-to-face therapy. The article explained that e-therapy would be a better modality than face-to-face therapy as reported that "in the United States, only 16% of people with an alcohol-abuse disorder had received treatment in 2001." As a side note, I personally believe this is not specific to substance abuse, but rather all mental health due to the unfortunate stigma that still remains. The results concluded that "We can conclude that the e-therapy program successfully attracted clients who were different from those who were represented in regular face-to-face alcohol treatment services. This indicates that e-therapy decreases the barriers to treatment facilities and enhances the accessibility. The e-therapy program reaches client groups that are still difficult to reach in regular face-to-face therapy. However, we saw that the e-therapy population changed over time. In 2005–2006, the e-therapy program really reached a new population of problem drinkers. Although the e-therapy program still did reach an important new group of clients in 2008–2009, this group showed more overlap with the traditional face-to-face group of clients: less employed clients and less first time treatment seekers.(Marloes G. Postel, M.Sc.1,2, Hein A. de Haan, M.D.1,2, Elke D. ter Huurne, M.Sc.1, Eni S. Becker, Ph.D.3, and Cor A. J. de Jong, M.D., Ph.D.2)

Thought that was pretty interesting...might be a topic for an upcoming post, the idea of e-therapy and its place.

Assesment Tools
There are many preventative measures that are used within the field of therapy and substance abuse, I can tell you when I see my patients I use the MSSI-SA. Which stands for Modified Simple Screening Instrument for Substance Abuse (MSSI-SA) Self-Administered Form. This is used primarily for settings that do not specialize in substance abuse treatment, yet it gives an idea if the patient is or can become at risk to substance abuse.

One more day...till Friday hang in!!


  1. I would also add OA as another big one. There are also support groups for family members of people suffering with addiction, such as alanon and alateen (for teens who's parents are alcoholics).

    Keep in mind though that these groups are fellowships of peers and don't involve any mental health professionals, and have never been studies and proven to work, but they do seem to helpful for many people.

    For more evidence based treatments, check out SMART recovery, based on Ellis' REBT aimed at helping people understand triggers, and develop healthier ways to cope instead of drugs/alcohol.

  2. As far as other medications to treat drug addiction, there is also Antabuse which is used for alcoholics. You take it once a day, and if you drink even a little bit of alcohol it makes you incredibly nauseous and sick to your stomach. It only really works for someone who is motivated to abstain, because all you have to do is "forget" to take it one day and then go out binge drinking.

    There's an anti-seizure med called Vigabatrin which is being studied for use in people addicted to cocaine, amphetamine, and other psychostimulants. This drug prevents the rapid influx of dopamine, thus reducing or preventing the euphoric high you get by ingesting stimulants.

    1. E, Welcome to the blog. Thank you for the posts. Yes, Over eaters Anon is big organization with a lot of members. Antabuse, was probably one of the first to treat alcoholics. That is really interesting the anti-seizure medication, eerily similar to the usage of Depakote being used to treat bipolar disorder.

  3. Thanks, keep up the good work!

  4. Undergoing counseling as part of addiction treatment is a very good idea.