In the world of psychiatry, as in the field of science, validity and acceptance of theories and ideas are evidence-based. However, evaluating results in mental health and substance abuse cases is an arduous and often inconclusive task. What, then, defines the right approach to treating patients suffering from addictive disorders? Is there really a single approach that can provide resolute results?

Renowned psychiatrist and conceiver of the self-medication hypothesis of addiction, Edward J. Khantzian writes for The Fix on how different approaches are required in treating addictive disorders.

Second Thoughts About Addiction

A seminal figure in understanding and treating substance misuse reflects on his legacy.

Source: Shutterstock

Edward Khantzian, MD is one of the most significant figures in the history of addiction treatment, having put forward, in 1974, the “self-medication hypothesis” of addiction, which asserted that substance use is best construed as effort to relieve an inner psychological struggle or discomfort. It also maintains that the choice of substance that comes to be relied on is therefore extremely relevant to developing treatment strategies. The self-medication model has had an enormous impact on our understanding of the etiology and treatment of addiction. Now, over 40 years later, and in a period in which a “disturbed brain mechanism” of addiction is perhaps dominant, Dr. Khantzian reflects on our current view of addiction, and his own.—Richard Juman.

It has been awhile since I treated intravenous, opiate-using patients. But there was a time when they were the group with whom I worked predominantly and where I began to develop my ideas about what makes dependency on addictive substances so powerful and compelling. See full post here

For more information on addictive disorders and different methods of treatment, visit Recovery Coach Training.