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September 9, 1988

Intervention Techniques for the Chemically Dependent Adult: The Do's and Don'ts

Author Affiliations

Veterans Administration Outpatient Clinic Columbus, Ohio

Veterans Administration Outpatient Clinic Columbus, Ohio

JAMA. 1988;260(10):1474-1475. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410100164054

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As with most diseases, substance abuse is best managed when diagnosed and treated early in its course. However, early detection of substance abuse frequently does not lead to early treatment because patients often deny to themselves and others that they have a problem.

Attempts to deal with this denial have led, in the past several years, to the development of a technique, labeled confrontation or intervention, that applies significant pressure to the substance user to accept treatment. Basically, the technique, which is well described and dramatized in this videotape, involves gathering significant others (spouse, boss, parent, children) in the user's environment and teaching them to confront the abuser in a supportive but factual manner regarding his or her past behavior resulting from substance abuse, indicate the consequences they will impose (job loss, separation, etc) if use continues, and urge/ demand that the user seek treatment. The manner in which an