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Study: Alcohol, drug abuse counselors don't always require total abstinence
Date:11/2/2012

WASHINGTON Compared to a survey conducted nearly 20 years ago, about twice the proportion of addiction counselors now find it acceptable for at least some of their patients to have a drink occasionally either as an intermediate goal or as their final treatment goal, according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association.

The researchers surveyed 913 members of the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Counselors from across the United States. About 50 percent of the respondents said it would be acceptable if some of their clients who abused alcohol wanted to limit their drinking but not totally give up alcohol. In the earlier survey published in 1994, about 25 percent of the responding administrators of substance abuse treatment agencies found moderate drinking acceptable for some of their clients.

When asked about treating clients who abuse drugs, about half the counselors in the new study accepted moderate drug use as an intermediate goal and one-third as a final goal this is about the same as it was in a similar survey 10 years ago.

"Individuals with alcohol and drug problems who avoid treatment because they are ambivalent about abstinence should know that depending on the severity of their condition, the finality of their outcome goal, and their drug of choice their interest in moderating their consumption will be acceptable to many addiction professionals working in outpatient and independent practice settings," wrote study co-authors Alan K. Davis, MA, and Harold Rosenberg, PhD, both with the Department of Psychology at Bowling Green State University. The study was published online in the APA journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.

However, for clients diagnosed with alcohol or drug dependence which is considered more severe than alcohol or drug abuse respondents to the new survey were less accepting of clients aiming for limited or moderate substance use. Speci
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Contact: Lisa Bowen
lbowen@apa.org
202-336-5707
American Psychological Association
Source:Eurekalert

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