Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Treating Addiction

From "Alcohol, Cradle to Grave", an article in the Great Falls Tribune that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2000:

At Benefis Healthcare in Montana the emphasis is on motivation.
„Without motivation, it doesn't matter what other resources you have.“ said Dirk Gibson, supervisor of the Addiction Treatment Center at Benefis. „Without motivation you have nothing.“
One way to do that is by stressing the pleasure alcoholics can find by changing their lifestyle.
Another is by stressing the pain they can avoid by quitting drinking.
A lot of people realize that on their own, said Dr. Dan Nauts, medical director of the Benefis Addiction Treatment Center.
„A majority of the people who quit abusing substances do it on their own without treatment,“ Nauts said. „Fifty percent of heroin addicts who stop using do so without treatment.“
„Motivation is really the key,“ he added.
One critical aspect is an intensive assessment in which counselors carefully listen to a patient to understand individual concerns, Gibson said.
He cited the case of a retired military officer, intelligent and well read, who kept drinking himself into the hosptîtal's detox center.
They worked to find a reason to keep the man from drinking, but couldn't. Even death wasn't a threat.
But when they told him he was likely to die in a nursing home, unable to control his movements or his bowels, that struck a nerve.
„He called me a month later and said, 'I'm ready to make a change,'“ Gibson said. „And he did.“

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