According to a report released by the National Center of Addiction and Substance Abuse within Columbia University, rehabilitation centers are simply not doing well enough in terms of treating their patients and getting results, and experts are now shedding some light on why this is the case. Surely the professionals are making use of knowledge of substance abuse that has been built up over decades of research? Most people would assume that if science is behind the treatment options, the only thing standing in people’s way is their own willingness to complete a program, right? This might not be the case, as the study states that;
Only a small fraction of individuals receive interventions or treatment consistent with scientific knowledge of what works.
Apparently, many of the programs that are currently being made available follow more or less the same outline, something that co-founder of the Treatment Research Institute, Tom McClellan underlines with the following statement;
Once you’ve seen any substance abuse program, you have seen the great majority of them,
If the underlying principles of many rehab facilities haven’t changed in the past few decades, science might just be taking a back seat when it comes to implementing these programs and ensuring that people have the best possible chances of success when they enter into rehab.
The One-Program-Fits-All Design
The question remains, then, why so many people are still attending these facilities if they just aren’t producing the right results, and the answer is simple; they are getting results, but the programs aren’t for everyone. The experts aren’t stating that these treatment programs are ineffective; they are just saying that the one-program-fits-all design needs to be replaced by something more flexible, based on research that has been updated since these programs were first developed.
Addiction as a Mental-Health Issue
According to author Lizzie Crocker, addiction has always been considered to be a behavioral problem instead of an issue related to mental health, and for the longest time, medical centers actually refused to treat these patients. Thankfully, this has all changed, but the field of patient treatment has still remained relatively stagnant over the past few decades and this is what needs to change. Anne Fletcher, author of “inside rehab” explains why the treatment programs offered by these one-program-fits-all institutions are so similar;
The treatment model sprung up in a vacuum.
Basically, this means that the treatment was based on a small group of people, not a generalized population that might have differing circumstances, associated emotional and psychological issues and varying support structures. In this day and age, if a treatment is based on a small population sample, it isn’t assumed that it is going to work on everyone, so why are rehab facilities assuming that it will?
The Importance of Therapy
According to the 2012 Columbia report, while treatment centers are treating the related psychological problems that are so commonly associated with addiction, many don’t have staff members with doctorate degrees present. Therapy is an integral part of a successful treatment plan, and according to Anne’s research, the most successful treatment programs have been those that were run by a therapist rather than a treatment program. It is also interesting to note that many of the effective programs were outpatient-based, instead of residential ones.
Every year, the field of medicine evolves and researchers make breakthroughs that change the face of the industry, but when it comes to treatment options such as rehab, people tend to go by the age-old adage, “if it’s not broken, why fix it?” Professionals have pointed out, however, that the system might not be running as effectively as most people would like to believe. While this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work, it is definitely time for people to start looking at how rehabilitation centers can continue improving their services and ensure that they are offering their patients the best possible chances of success.