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Medical Strategy: Interventions (From Addiction Intervention: Strategies to Motivate Treatment-Seeking Behavior, P 21-36, 1998, Robert K. White, Deborah G. Wright, eds. - See NCJ-171025)

NCJ Number
J Steinberg
Date Published
16 pages
This chapter presents information on recognizing the need for intervention, overcoming resistance, and strategies for referral, treatment and follow-up.
Addictive illness is involved in as much as 40 percent of emergency room visits, 30 percent of hospital admissions, and 25 percent of physician office visits. Alcohol and other drug dependencies most often present as other disorders, e.g., accidental injuries, memory loss, sleeplessness, and stomach and intestinal disorders. The primary care physician needs to understand chemical dependency and how to diagnose and prescribe appropriately. The alternative is to treat the presenting symptom while the underlying primary disorder progresses, or worse, to prescribe a medication which will further the addictive process. On the other hand, the physician is perhaps the most highly effective individual in causing a patient to seek help. The chapter presents information on warning signs, how to assess symptoms and initiate dialogue with the patient, the use of various diagnostic tools, how to overcome denial and other resistance to intervention, and strategies for appropriate referral, treatment, and follow-up.