Nearly Half of Addiction Counselors Do Not Always Push Abstinence

Nearly Half of Addiction Counselors Do Not Always Push Abstinence


By  Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on November 3, 2012


About half of addiction counselors recently surveyed said it is acceptable for at least some of their patients to have a drink occasionally, according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association.

Researchers, who surveyed 913 members of the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Counselors from across the United States, report that about 50 percent 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 an 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 — about the same as a similar survey 10 years ago, researchers note.

“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, M.A., and Harold Rosenberg, Ph.D., both with the Department of Psychology at Bowling Green State University.

However, for those 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 aiming for limited or moderate substance use. Read More…


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