Treatment

Many health professionals are pessimistic about the treatability of substance abuse, and if they develop an alcohol or drug problem, they may discount the value of treatment for themselves. Those who train or work in public-sector hospitals or clinics often observe that the treatment of their patients is rarely successful. Their perception is unduly pessimistic, however, because such clinics often treat recalcitrant, end-stage substance abusers. Furthermore, recent observation has seen medical care givers surpass all other professions as the most successful with intervention programs. This is possibly attributable to the ability of doctors to notice the difficulties in colleagues and the consequential early response.

The resistance to seeking treatment on their own often necessitates some form of coercion to force health professionals into treatment. One method of breaking down denial and forcing a person to seek treatment is called an intervention. The process consists of a group confrontation of the drug-abusing professional by concerned friends, family, and colleagues. A peer professional experienced in conducting interventions often assists in setting up the confrontation. The interventionist rehearses those who will be involved. When the stage is set, participants each tell the abuser what they have observed concerning the drug abuse and how it has adversely affected them. The confrontation, which may include threats to notify the abuser's employer, hospital, or state licensing board, may motivate an abuser to go for treatment. Such motivation is often fleeting, so it is important for the addict to go immediately into a treatment setting.

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