‘One size does not fit all’ when it comes to addiction treatment

This week, New York Times health reporter Jane Brody spoke with William Cope Moyers about his new book on addiction: “Now What? An Insider’s Guide to Addiction and Recovery.” 

Moyers describes his own struggles with addiction and his experiences navigating the treatment process. He cautions readers that a 100 percent success rate doesn’t exist for any treatment program –no matter how reputable– so be wary of any program that makes such a promise. And there is no “one size fits all” approach.

Accordingly, Moyers tells Brody how vital it is to get a comprehensive behavioral health assessment to screen for co-morbid mental health conditions, a history of trauma, and other psychosocial issues that can compromise the outcomes of chemical dependency treatment. If these issues remain unaddressed, the likelihood of recovery is significantly impacted.

Polaris CD, a Web-based outcomes management system for substance abuse treatment programs, helps providers build a treatment plan that is tailored to an individual patient’s needs. The system uses a patient self-report assessment to collect data in multiple life areas to better manage the course of treatment, identify possible obstacles to recovery and predict the risk of dropout.

Polaris CD has an exceptionally strong research foundation, including a five-year NIDA-sponsored research program conducted jointly by Polaris staff and the Treatment Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. The research team found that patients who receive treatment directed towards their specific problems experienced significantly more positive outcomes than similar patients, treated in the same programs by the same therapists, who were not matched to services. The “matching” procedure developed under this research has been incorporated into Polaris CD.

The clinically actionable data the system produces also helps providers identify persons who should be monitored post-treatment, and introduces the practice as a routine component of the treatment process as a way to improve compliance with post-discharge monitoring procedures.