Addiction, 12-step programs, and evidentiary standards for ethically and clinically sound treatment recommendations: What should clinicians do?

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Abstract

Addiction is a complex phenomenon characterized by a loss of control and compulsive, habitual behavior. Since there is no single, specific cause for addiction, there is no single, standard treatment for it. A variety of approaches are used, including counseling, psychotherapy, medications, and mutual help groups (MHG). The best known and most widely available approach to addiction is 12-step (TS) programs of recovery, a variety of MHG. These have been lauded as lifesaving by some and criticized by others. We argue that TS programs are an appropriate mode of help for those seeking to quit an addiction but should not be the only approach considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)646-655
Number of pages10
JournalAMA Journal of Ethics
Volume18
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

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Compulsive Behavior
Psychotherapy
addiction
Counseling
psychotherapy
counseling
medication
Group
cause

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

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title = "Addiction, 12-step programs, and evidentiary standards for ethically and clinically sound treatment recommendations: What should clinicians do?",
abstract = "Addiction is a complex phenomenon characterized by a loss of control and compulsive, habitual behavior. Since there is no single, specific cause for addiction, there is no single, standard treatment for it. A variety of approaches are used, including counseling, psychotherapy, medications, and mutual help groups (MHG). The best known and most widely available approach to addiction is 12-step (TS) programs of recovery, a variety of MHG. These have been lauded as lifesaving by some and criticized by others. We argue that TS programs are an appropriate mode of help for those seeking to quit an addiction but should not be the only approach considered.",
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