Why Abstinence-Only Models Don’t Work

For a long time, abstinence-only treatment seemed like the best avenue for addiction recovery. Today, we know better. Abstinence-only treatments such as the popular Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other 12-step programs can be spiritually and mentally fulfilling in many ways. They also make up most treatment methods. Unfortunately, they are simply not efficient in creating the large-scale change in addiction recovery we need when utilized alone.

Aren’t Less Drugs Better?

“Abstinence” here can best be described as the cessation of all drug and alcohol use. Therefore, abstinence-only programs are models that incorporate the belief that the best way to tackle addiction is avoiding the abused substances altogether. While eventually reaching a point of self-directed freedom from alcohol and narcotics is key, there are several ways to reach this point. Unfortunately, some ways can be more damaging than others. Less drugs are better, but the avenue towards weening your body off those drugs matters. For example, doctors do not recommend addicts terminate drug and alcohol use suddenly or without supervision. Stopping abruptly can put the body in medical danger. To illustrate, it can create dangerous medical conditions, bring forth intense withdrawal symptoms and lead to relapse.

Addiction Treatment in West Palm Beach

A Medical Approach to Recovery

A better solution to the challenging treatment question is implementing a combination of recovery methods. 12-step programs can be useful in a myriad of ways so there is no need to disregard them completely for those who take a liking to them. Instead, they can be incorporated with other useful methods. One of the most impressive recovery methods permeating the scene falls under the ‘harm reduction’ category (as opposed to ‘abstinence-only’). It is known as Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT). This practice combines therapies, such as behavioral, with important medications. These medications can lessen harsh withdrawal symptoms, block opiates and lower the risk of relapse. Together, West Palm Beach Suboxone treatment allows patients to assess problems from a psychological standpoint while combating the physical structures that impact addiction in the brain. Treatment with Suboxone and Subutex has been proven to be very effective. Similarly, it can be successfully incorporated into an individualized recovery program that includes abstinence aspects.

Find A Program That Works for You


Success rates for all treatment methods vary widely. Woefully, finding accurate results is nearly impossible. Self-reporting creates a pathway for dishonest results, particularly considering most programs revolve around anonymity. Similarly, ‘relapse’ is often confused as a synonym for ‘failure’. In reality, relapse is only a common step on a long journey towards recovery. All of these pitfalls can result in skewed success rates. Thankfully, outpatient MAT in Palm Beach Gardens such as Alternatives for You.

Alternatives for You is a Medication Assisted Treatment clinic located in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Servicing the Greater West Palm Beach. Alternatives for You specializes in MAT care with Suboxone on an outpatient basis. Call us today at (561) 337-8880.

Matthew Koenig is the principal of Last Call Marketing, which devotes their efforts to Digital Marketing, Content Marketing and SEO, primarily in healthcare and tourism concerns. Mr. Koenig is based out of South Florida. His sober date is June 10, 2013.

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