Pharmacotherapy?

I believe Many practitioners and counselors in addiction treatment see pharmacotherapies as the answer alone for addiction treatment because it fits into the medical model in the U.S. of prescribe to take care of symptoms. It also takes less time & effort, and is does not need to be as specific to the needs of the individual in a person centered treatment plan. (It can be more standardized) Obviously for detox and ambulatory or out-patient medical treatment for addictions the new medications are helping address the problems far better than ever before.

There are also those involved in addiction treatment like myself that although realizing there are benefits in many cases to use pharmacotherapy as part of the treatment plan (especially with co-occuring conditions), have come to believe that to get at the heart of the underlying causes not just the symptoms a combination of medication, behavioral, and even other complimentary treatments will get not only the best results short term, but will address healing the chronic and progressive nature of addiction long term. Hopefully customizing the treatment plan to the individual and allowing them to be more proactive in their treatment choices will lower re-lapse rates and bring about deeper and more persistent change.

When a client is ambivalent towards treatment options, especially when medications are involved the time needs to be invested to educate them to the objectives and benefits of the medications, allowing the client/patient to personally choose pharmacotherapy as part of their treatment plan and truly “buy in” to the plan, so they will remain compliant with the use of the medication and achieve the progress and recovery they desire. If they are not using the medications properly they can become part of the addiction cycle and may reinforce the addicts thinking that they always need to reach for something to feel better. The best strategy long term is for the client to develop inner coping methods to work through their pain, only then will they develop self regulation and coping skills.