According to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), the best practices in addiction treatment include program practices that use the right amount of treatment and self help involvement, treat individuals with dignity and respect, have resources available with instructions that include reading assignments, journaling and self assessments, and emphasis placed on positive goals and outcomes and not placing emphasis on negative outcomes.
Unfortunately there are not many of these best practices offered in traditional addiction treatment, but a majority of these practices can be found in alternative programs to treatment. Alternative programs account nationally for about 5% of the substance use programs.
With this in mind, it stands to reason that a large percentage of traditional addiction treatment practices fall outside of what is considered to be the latest in best practices with the substance user's best interests in mind. Issues with traditional practices in addiction treatment contributes for these programs to fall outside of what is suggested as being best practices as many programs place patients in lockdown or in isolation, restrict patients' contact with the outside world, and prohibit patients from bringing in any personal items.
Further, traditional inpatient addiction treatment often uses oral medication that is seen by many professionals as ineffective at controlling withdrawal symptoms. Patients are left to deal with their discomfort and it is the practice of many of these facilities to allow the patient to experience a certain amount of discomfort viewing it as a deterrent for future substance use. This practice, in and of itself, goes against the philosophy of treating individuals "with dignity and respect" as under the best practices in addiction treatment set out by SAMHSA.
12 Step programs also fall outside of the definition of the best practices in addiction treatment because of the use of negative connotations, labels and judgment of substance users as part of their philosophy. For example, 12 Step programs attach stigmas to their members through their use of labels, judgment, and manipulation. Members are made to feel as if all they will ever be is a drug addict or an alcoholic and that there is no hope for them. They are not given the dignity of choices, free will or responsibility but instead are relegated to beings unable to control their fate or desires and simply meeting a need greater than themselves which they can't be held responsible for nor conquer.
12 Step programs adhere to the false idea that substance use is an incurable genetic disease, against which the member has no power and that only total lifelong abstinence, belief in and submission to a higher power and attendance at AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings for the rest of the member's life will treat, but not cure with the inevitable relapse built in.
Listed as the one of the top best practices in addiction treatment, Cognitive Behavioral Education (CBE) provides methods of self assessment and self change to individuals. CBE does not accept that substance use is a genetic disease, but rather that it is a learned behavior. Individuals are not born to be drug addicts or alcoholics, but they learn to become excessive alcohol users and excessive drug users from watching those around them model these behaviors and the resulting stress relief or other feelings they associate with substance use.
CBE states that your brain is not diseased, but has learned to associate drug and alcohol use with the euphoric sensation it feels from substance use. You can retrain your brain to associate the same feeling with a more productive and positive habit and behavior. CBE does not use judgment, manipulation or labeling to shame or control individuals, but instead works to build self confidence and self esteem so that individuals become empowered to realize that they have to strength and absolute ability to overcome their substance use.
St. Jude Retreats has a CBE program that has been recognized as utilizing the best practices in addiction treatment; however, we are a non-treatment program. We have been helping guests for more than 20 years and we can help you move forward beyond substance use and in life as well.