Wednesday, October 6, 2010
As a recovering addict and a psychiatric survivor, this kind of makes my blood boil:
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism conducted a representative survey of 43,000 Americans in 2001-2002, called the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC). Following are exact quotes from the NIAAA Web site.
# Twenty years after onset of alcohol dependence, about three-fourths of individuals are in full recovery; more than half of those who have fully recovered drink at low-risk levels without symptoms of alcohol dependence.
# About 75 percent of persons who recover from alcohol dependence do so without seeking any kind of help, including specialty alcohol (rehab) programs and AA. Only 13 percent of people with alcohol dependence ever receive specialty alcohol treatment.
75% of those who recover do so without any sort of treatment;
25% of the recovered are split between those who receive general therapy and those who enter rehab or AA.
I was told by the experts that psychotherapy and/or AA was the only way to get sober. I never found rehab or AA to be particularly helpful for my situation.
However, my older friends who'd also been through some very debilitating addictions to drugs and alcohol had a totally different perspective. They told me that eventually one day I'd wake up, decide I'd had enough and that would be the end of it. I always told my friends they were nuts. I was going to party till the day I died.
My friends were right. Both the experts and I were wrong. It happened more or less the way my friends said it would. I'm sitting here clean and sober for 14 years, a proud member of that 75%.
I have absolutely nothing against AA. A great many people swear by it because it has worked for them. I'm all for what works for people, particularly if that help is virtually free.
Perhaps, however, if we need to rein in health care costs, we need to look at the utility and cost of the psychotherapists and rehab programs. From the statistics, these "experts" earn only a fraction of their paycheck.