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

fically, at least three-quarters of respondents said they would not approve of limited or moderate consumption for clients with alcohol or drug dependence, as either an intermediate or final goal.

Substance abuse often results in relationship, work or legal problems, such as driving under the influence. Substance dependent people have many of the same problems, but they also experience markedly increased tolerance, withdrawal symptoms and a sense of compulsion or loss of control over their substance use, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the United States.

When respondents were asked why they rejected any consumption at all by their clients, many said it would send the wrong message, is not effective and is not consistent with their treatment philosophy. When asked what other client characteristics they thought were important to evaluate when clients wanted to limit or moderate their substance use, respondents rated a patient's health, age, emotional stability and "drug of choice" as important.

The study also found that limited or moderate substance use appears less acceptable to counselors in the United States than in several other countries. For example, a nationwide survey of British alcohol and drug treatment agencies found 86 percent considered continued use acceptable as an intermediate goal and 81 percent found it acceptable as a final goal for clients with a history of alcohol abuse. In that same survey, 68 percent accepted continued use as an intermediate goal and 50 percent as a final goal for clients with alcohol dependence. In addition, a recent survey of Swiss alcohol treatment agencies also found that respondents rated limited or moderate drinking as more acceptable for clients with alcohol abuse and dependence than did the American addiction counselors.

All the U.S. survey respondents wer
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Contact: Lisa Bowen
lbowen@apa.org
202-336-5707
American Psychological Association
Source:Eurekalert

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