The Problem With Conventional Treatments

-By A. Scott Roberts
M.S. Rehabilitation Counseling

People all over the world are literally spending thousands of dollars on luxurious rehabs, workbooks and numerous counseling sessions, yet most are still unable to find long-term sobriety. Research tells us why. The common methods of addiction treatment are producing poor outcomes.1,2,3

The common methods of addiction treatment, which stem from the Minnesota Model, are being recognized as outdated and not effective. 

“Our whole treatment system with its innumerable therapies, armies of therapists, large and expensive programs, are founded on hunch, not evidence and not science. (Source: Enoch Gordis / director of NIAAA)

“Treating alcohol and other drug dependence solely through repeated episodes of detoxification and brief stabilization is clinically ineffective and constitutes a poor stewardship of personal and community resource." (Source: William White /senior research consultant)

White believes that recovery requires "a shift that will de-emphasize expensive, high intensity acute care and emphasize lower-intensity, lower-cost and more enduring recovery support services.”

In one commonly cited study, researchers followed addicts over many years. Out of those that entered traditional addiction treatment, only 20 percent maintained sobriety after 1 year. After 8 years, only 5 percent abstained.4

Researchers, Cutler and Fishbain found that alcoholics who did not use conventional treatments actually led to greater success. They concluded, alcoholics that were not treated in clinical trials show a greater improvement. Most of the improvement which is interpreted as treatment effect is not due to treatment.”5

While many people are lured into the short-term, expensive or popular programs that aren't scientifically based, there are handfuls of people discovering the less-expensive, scientifically-proven techniques that consistently produce long-term change.

But these methods are not widely known and seldom practiced.depressed 2

Most “rehabs” and treatment centers do not teach the addict proper addiction management techniques that change the brain, effective coping skills to eliminate urges and the key nutrients that restores depleted and malfunctioning neurotransmitters.

The conventional method of addiction treatment stems from the Minnesota Model developed in 1950s and has remained relatively unchanged, even though the last 50 years of research largely discredits its effectiveness.

The Minnesota Model feeds the assumption that addiction only affects individuals that lack willpower, morals or motivation, and that it is purely a psychological deficit.

This simply isn’t true and scientists know it...

With the advances of science, neuroscientists can take an in-depth look at the brain and see what is really going on.

They find that addiction is a biochemical issue. Not only are chemicals in the brain (known as neurotransmitters) severely depleted, but this affects other structures of the brain - throwing it off its natural homeostatic state.

But the brain is malleable. It can be changed, formed, remapped and rewired.

For those who struggle with addiction, incorporating simple techniques and practices that change the brain and restore its chemicals is the best practice... This way, you will no longer need the boost of dopamine that addiction provides.

The addiction stops WHEN it becomes unnecessary to artificially stimulate the brain with chemicals.

One study examined 100 alcoholic patients that participated in a program which focused on restoring the biochemical change in the brain through adding simple key nutrients. This resulted in an 85 percent of participants staying abstinent for 42 months.8

Restoring the biochemical change in the brain, combined with other evidence-based techniques for managing cravings, urges and intrusive thoughts, produces long-term success.

-A. Scott Roberts
 M.S. Rehabilitation Counseling


1. R. G. Smart, Spontaneous Recovery in Alcoholics: A Review and Analysis of the Available Research, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, vol 1, 1975-1976, p. 284. 2.  Thomas Prugh, Recovery Without Treatment, Alcohol Health and Research World, Fall 1986, pp. 24, 71 and 72. 3. Sehnert, 1992; Larson, 1992 “Seven Weeks to sobriety” 4. Vaillant, G. E. 1983. The Natural History of Alcoholism . Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press 5. Cutler & Fishbain (2005). Are alcoholism treatments effective? The Project MATCH data 6. Larson, Joan Mathews, Ph.D. Seven Weeks to Sobriety. (New York: Fawcett Books), 1992.