Obviously, the goal of addiction treatment is to enable and sustain long-term sobriety. However, research shows that there are incredible high rates of relapse with traditional methods. The traditional methods that are largely in use originated from the Minnesota Model that was developed in 1949.
Since then, addiction treatment has remained relatively the same, even though the last 50 years of research has provided researchers, doctors and scientists with many practices and procedures that are substantially more effective.
Research suggests that many of the conventional recovery programs have around a 5-8 percent success rate.1,2,3
One reliable study followed addicts for many years. Researchers discovered that after only 1 year, 20 percent of addicts were able maintain sobriety. But after 8 years, only 5 percent abstained.4 These studies were repeated and show similar results.
Below are a few statements from well recognized and respected researchers, doctors and professionals explaining this problem…
According to William White, Senior Research Consultant at Chestnut Health Systems, acute recovery programs are expensive and ineffective:
“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 resources.”Addiction treatment requires “a shift that will deemphasize expensive, high intensity acute care and emphasize lower-intensity, lower cost and more enduring recovery support services.”
Enoch Gordis, the director of NIAAA (National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism stated,
“Our whole treatment system with its innumerable therapies, armies of therapists, large and expensive programs, are founded on hunch, not evidence and not science.”
According to researchers, Cutler & Fishbain, alcoholics that did NOT use conventional acute programs actually improved more than those who did.
“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.” (Cutler & Fishbain: Are alcoholism treatments effective? The Project MATCH data).
The reason that many conventional treatments fail is because they are short-term, against research and do not address the underlying biochemical problem.
There is another important point to consider when it comes to conventional methods. The typical way we go about “helping” someone with an addiction has shown to make matters worse…
Confrontation is a common method used in traditional recovery programs such as AA, NA and other 12 step programs. Some even use methods called “attack therapy” and “hot seat therapy.”
Confrontation and “scared straight” methods not only make people feel uncomfortable, but it pushes them in the wrong direction. Research shows that the use of confrontation actually increases an individual’s resistance to change. Problematic behaviors also increased during the confrontational periods of intervention.5
This may help explain why AA reports show a whopping 80 percent dropout rate in the first year.6
In other studies, people confronted to stop drinking, actually drank more. When less confrontation was used in recovery, the less drinking addicts engaged in.7
Revealing research goes against not only the techniques used in traditional addiction therapy, but also shows that addicts actually change on their own without the use of high-end treatment facilities or expensive recovery programs.8,9
So what does work?
Methods that implement evidence-based practices…
In one study, 100 alcoholic patients that participated in a program that focused on restoring the biochemical change in the brain resulting in 85 percent stayed abstinent up to 42 months.10
In another study Dr. Charles Grant found that just integrating key nutrients to conventional treatment options restored biochemical imbalances and boosted the success rate up to 92 percent!11
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