Some random thoughts excerpted from my journals during my recent blogging hiatus. On Weak Recovery Definitions: At its central core, addiction recovery is a radically altered relationship between an individual and the psychoactive drugs that once dominated their life. Any definition of recovery that does not reference a change in that relationship fails on multiple…

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A just-published review of the scientific literature on untreated remission from alcohol problems by Richard Mellor and colleagues offers insightful clues about the role of professional treatment and non-treatment resources in the resolution of alcohol problems. Here are some key findings and my take on their implications. Only a small subset of people with alcohol…

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The most cursory review of the history of addiction treatment reveals a long tradition of inadvertent harm in the name of help (iatrogenic illness). Such treatment insults span bleeding, purging, and toxic, mercury-laden medicines in the 18th century. They include the fraudulent boxed and bottled home cures and the use of cocaine to treat morphine…

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The wide range of injuries inflicted on the human body by excessive and prolonged alcohol or other drug (AOD) use have been extensively documented for more than two centuries, but until recently little was known about the relative health of people recovering from addiction. The potential burden of continued health problems in recovery has been obscured…

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We recently explored the idea of “recovery cascade”—a sudden surge in personal change that sparks recovery initiation in the heels of past efforts or a collective surge in recovery prevalence at a community or cultural level. While there are examples of the latter in U.S. history (e.g., the explosive growth of the Washingtonian Temperance Society…

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What is the number of serious attempts required to achieve stable resolution of a significant alcohol or other drug (AOD) problem? Previous studies of addiction treatment populations suggest prolonged addiction careers, and a substantial proportion (over half) of people in the United States admitted to addiction treatment indicate one or more prior treatment admissions. These…

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Increasingly, seeking and providing support for relapse-prevention occurs in online environments and through mobile technologies. Communication in these environments may not only have an impact on relapse prevention through increasing mutual support but, as this paper demonstrates, it could also have secondary relapse-prevention benefit through capturing natural language-use data from which to predict and respond…

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Substance use disorders (SUD) are, for many, chronic conditions that are typically associated with severe impairments in multiple areas of functioning. “Recovery” from SUD is, for most, a lengthy process; improvements in other areas of functioning do not necessarily follow the attainment of abstinence. The current SUD service model providing intense, short-term, symptom-focused services is…

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There is a growing literature that seeks to evaluate the role of ‘‘recovery capital’’ in the resolution of substance use disorders. In this study, a structured instrument (the Assessment of Recovery Capital), along with an assessment of social networks among 176 former illicit drug users and drinkers, is measured in three locations in England. There…

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