Evidence Based Treatment Practices for Substance Use Disorders

substance abuseSelecting the appropriate addiction treatment option is very crucial. The individual suffering from substance use may only have one shot at recovery as there are no guarantees that they will ever gather-up the motivation to try quitting substance use again. Unfortunately however, there have been many reported cases where people have attempted quitting but have ended up with a treatment that wasn’t the best for them. In order to ensure that better choices are made when choosing the best treatment to give someone with substance disorders, adequate information is very important. The data gathered about the individual and the treatment option has to be reliable and dependable. By selecting an evidence-based treatment option for substance use disorders, the individual is set in the best position where it is much likely for them to enter a path that leads to recovery.

Definition of Evidence Based Treatment Practices for Substance Use Disorders

Whenever people do online searches for possible treatment options for substance use, they will find many possible treatment options which may be overwhelming. Aggravating the issue is the fact that many of these treatment practices are pure scams or a little more than scams. Some of these results promise the individuals instant results simply by drinking some herbs, swallowing some pill or by wearing some special necklace. Evidence based treatments are therefore put in place to ensure that the individual trying to quit addiction is placed next to the best options or resources that could help them in their journey to freedom.

Evidence Levels to Guide the EBT Practices

All types of evidence cannot be treated equally by professionals; some will get more attention than the others. Data obtained from subjective or anecdotal approaches are considered to be of lesser value as against data obtained from objective scientific approaches or researches. Now this is not to mean that subjective or anecdotal evidence is not of important use because they are but there are challenges with information proceeding from such sources. Such problems as human biases and errors are common with such methods. There are different evidence levels that can be assigned to Substance use Disorder treatments and they include:

Level 1: Indicates evidence that proceeds from true experimental designs and that includes trials performed in the clinic that include some kind of randomization.

Level 2: Indicates evidence that proceeds from quasi-experimental designs that includes no kind of randomization

Level 3: Talks about evidence emanating from professional consensus. For instance, a professional community may believe that a particular treatment works better than the other.

Level 4: Speaks of evidence that proceeds from qualitative literature reviews and publications that of good authority

Level 5: Indicates anecdotal information involving personal experiences and accounts.

From the above, evidence proceeding from Level 1 is of the utmost importance and value while evidence at Level 5 has the least value.


Issues with Anecdotal Evidence

Normally in life, humans tend to learn easily from other people’s personal stories and experiences. It is really simple, people tend to connect real time when someone is talking about what they are going through presently. The belief is there that the person is telling the truth and as such their personal experiences can be related to. It makes it easier to learn from the errors and mistakes such people had in order to avoid the pains they went through and wasted time. However, it is also very natural for humans to think anecdotally that thinking scientifically and there are problems with such thinking such as:

  • Human have been absolutely wired to locate connections between things even when these connections may not actually be there
  • The ways people find interpretation to things they have been through and what has happened to them is extremely affected by personal biases. What this means that even when the same event happen to similar kinds of people, their interpretation of the event might be absolutely different.
  • Humans sometimes have hidden motives and their interpretation of their evidence may be to support these hidden motives.
  • People, more often than not, tend to select experiences and information that best suits what they already believe as their reality.
  • In many ways, the human sense can be compromised and this means events can be inaccurately interpreted and this can be a big problem for those whose only reliance is on eye witness testimonies.
  • Humans possess a subconscious confirmation bias which means that they are much more likely to pay attention to things that relates to what they already believe as their reality and miss things that prove their belief otherwise.

For the above reasons, anecdotal evidences when treating Substance use disorders are taken with a pinch of salt.

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Examples of Evidence Based Treatment Practices for Substance Use Disorders

Below are some of the best evidence based treatment practices for substance use disorders:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This is a psychotherapeutic approach to the treatment of substance use disorders. Many studies have shown and proven the efficacy of this approach when dealing with addictions.
  • The Matrix Model: This is also one of the effective Evidence based treatments used in treating the misuse of stimulants. This employs education and encouragement practices to help the individual recover.
  • The Community Reinforcement Approach: This approach seeks to provide supports for the addicted individual within a common community of addicted people who are trying to recover. This is usually combined with a reward scheme that rewards people who can abstain for a certain period of time.
  • Drugs such as topiramate, acamprosate and disulfiram have been confirmed very useful pharmaceutical agents that are evidence backed when treating substance use disorders. Disulfiram, for instance, make people feel sick when they drink alcohol.
  • The 12 Step Facilitation Therapy is a kind of EBT that encourages addicted individuals to participate in a 12 step program.
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy: This used a counselling approach which is aimed primarily at increasing the individual’s motivation to quit substance misuse. This involves motivating the individual to see themselves in a positive light and see themselves as being able to quit addiction.

It is very imperative for clinicians and health professionals to employ evidence based practices in treatment of substance use disorders as this helps to greatly improve the chances of the addicted individual’s recovery and prevents the possibility of them retracting and sinking deeper into addiction.