Study shows power of supportive care for alcohol addiction

Published by John Hartnett Academic Study 28-March-2019

Treating any kind of drug addiction can be a real challenge. The question is what kind of help do people with alcohol or drug addiction really need? Perhaps it would be better to ask them what they need to help themselves.

This is exactly what happened in Seattle in the United States. The team behind a recent study asked 168 homeless people in Seattle who were actively struggling with treatment what kind of help they felt would benefit them.

As a result, more people battling alcohol addiction were able to take charge of their own addiction. The Seattle team branded the concept Compassionate Help. This exciting new approach may, in fact, help to improve alcohol and drug treatment not only in the United States but also globally.

The lead author of the study, Susan Collins, says that most people do know how to take care of themselves. This form of self-help often leads to long term results which can be revolutionary.

Achieving Sustainable Results

When it comes to alcohol and drug treatment, it is all about achieving sustainable results. Taking charge of your own treatment together with the right professional assistance will put longer-term results in place according to Susan Collins who is an Associate Professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Findings showed that almost everyone on the program benefited in some way from the new supportive care system. For instance, a clear reduction in alcohol use was noted. A figure of 66% reduction is significant when it comes to this type of program. The amount of alcohol-related problems were reduced as well, and research shows a reduction of 63%

It soon became clear that this approach worked. A previous study had shown that only 5% of participants were interested in getting sober, however, by taking a more compassionate approach, an increasing number of people said they wanted to stay sober.

There were some powerful motivators involved. Many people involved in the program said that they wanted to reconnect with their families and engage in meaningful activities such as art and sport.

The researchers asked the patients one simple question – what do you want to see happen for yourself? This seems to have spurred many of the participants to take some action.

Are We Overcomplicating Drug Treatment?

More and more clinics have started to take a similar kind of approach. They ask patients what kind of help they need to improve their own situation.

Most people have some kind of clear understanding of what they need and how they can help themselves. It is simply a matter of giving these individuals the right resources to do so. This is really what compassionate care is all about.

A person addicted to alcohol may have an underlying condition which has not been effectively dealt with. Alternatively, they could perhaps be shown a non-harmful way in which to help themselves. Addiction is a huge healthcare issue, but at the bottom of every addiction case, you will normally find a problem which has not been solved.

It is a pretty unique idea, but it is based on that fundamental human instinct – a willingness to wanting to help yourself and improve your own environment.

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