A New Hope For Addiction Treatment

Hello everyone. As a guest blogger on Intervene I will share my ideas for bringing the latest scientific findings and treatments into the everyday clinical practice of alcohol and drug addiction treatment in this country. I will share my knowledge and expertise on the very important topic of how you can best position yourself andor your loved ones for optimal treatment success with long-term recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. My goal is to inspire hope and confidence in patients and their families that they can have an enjoyable drug-free life over time. To this end, I have worked hard with many creative, very bright people to build a variety of treatment resources that educate and support patients and their families through this process.  The two primary tools that I have helped to create are my new book, Healing the Addicted Brain, and a patient friendly website enterhealth.com. An excerpt from the book’s first chapter can give you a better understanding of what I am trying to accomplish here with the help of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America:

From Introduction, Healing the Addicted Brain

If you’re a member of an addict’s family, or perhaps a close sober friend, you feel as if you’ve heard too many failed promises to sober up, covered up too much bad behavior, watched the family be pulled apart and the finances drained, and stood by helplessly as dreams were shattered and the life of the addict slowly slipped away. You’ve been through the emotional wringer too many times and seen the latest “guaranteed treatment” fail repeatedly. Sometimes you wish you could just walk away from it all—but you know you can’t and feel absolutely stuck.

Through it all, whether you’re the addict or the family member, you’ve wondered if there is any point to treatment. Why have your hopes been dashed over and over again? Why not just accept the obvious fact that an addict is an addict, and addiction is ultimately untreatable?

Before they came to me for help, many of my patients and their families feel that way, with good reason. Traditionally, the success rate for addiction treatment was abysmally low. A few of the medicines we had available were effective, but their use was limited or restricted for various reasons. The treatment most health experts pinned their hopes on, talking therapy, was not very successful. As a result, most addicts, their families, and friends were repeatedly disappointed. Understandably, many simply gave up.

I’m here to tell you that you no longer have to feel helpless and hopeless. There is hope, new hope that stems from a new scientific understanding of the nature of addiction plus novel medicines that finally allow us to control cravings and fix the physical damage to the brain caused by addiction. We now know that addiction is a chronic brain disease, that brain damage interferes with the addict’s ability to respond to talking therapy, and that once the physical brain damage has been repaired, talking therapy and other elements of traditional treatment can be very successful.

We’re at the beginning of a new era in addiction medicine, armed with a fresh view of the disease plus high-tech medicines and other treatments that will allow success for up to 90 percent of those who seek help. This is not just a tremendous improvement in the treatment rate; it represents a paradigm shift that will help us to turn the understanding of addiction from a shameful habit that destroys lives into a treatable illness.

As you can see from this excerpt, you as a parent or patient have your work cut out for you if you want to get excellent alcohol and drug treatment. I assure you though that it can be done, and I believe that it will be worth your time to invest in learning more about how to accomplish this success.

I plan to post at least weekly on this site, but in the interim all of my thoughts and knowledge on the topic have been poured into the above two resources — my book and the website, so you can get started right away with the learning process. What you need to learn as a parent is not “rocket science,” rather, you just need to understand a variety of easily understood issues and then do your best to ensure that you or your child is receiving services in these areas. If not, ask about what you are not getting and work to figure out a way to get it.

Please feel free to share your questions.  I am here to help you in this process.  Thanks for reading.

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    Pat Nichols

    August 26, 2009 at 8:11 PM

    I’m so sorry Dr. Urschel, I just finished a book by Dr. Amen and had his name in my mind.

    Pat

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    Pat Nichols

    August 26, 2009 at 8:08 PM

    Dr. Amen,

    Your book was very insightful and encouraging.

    I answer a parent hotline and have recommended your book numerous times. I actually listened to the book on CD while working out and was so impressed I ordered the book for reference.

    Parents of children with mental disorders as well as substance abuse issue would be wise to read your book.

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