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Substance Abusers’ Clinical Treatment Research Paper

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Updated: Jun 17th, 2020

“Clinical Treatment of Substance Abusers: Past, Present, and Future” is an article by Shulamith Straussner and it addresses several dimensions of substance abuse treatment. The article provides its readers with a detailed overview of the subject matter including historical, current, and future facts. The author of this article concentrates on family-based case studies of substance abusers. In addition, the author of this article draws upon her twenty-five years of experience in clinical treatment of substance abuse when writing this article. The article explores both complex and simple matters concerning clinical treatment of substance abuse. According to the article, it is common for social workers to encounter substance abuse in the course of their practice. Consequently, it is important for social workers to understand the dynamics of clinical treatment of substance abusers. This paper is a review of Straussner’s article in relation to the issues that are encountered by social workers when they are dealing with substance abusers.

Clinical treatment of substance abusers is a topic that is quite relevant to social science. In this article, the author addresses the past, present, and future dynamics of clinical treatment of substance abusers. This scope of focus gives clinical practitioners a comprehensive understanding of substance abuse treatment. For instance, the author of this article notes that until 1952 alcohol addiction was not classified as a disease. This is information is important to a social worker who is likely to encounter individuals who do not believe that alcoholism is a disease. Straussner’s article is also relevant to the field of clinical drug abuse treatment because some practitioners are often directly affected by the vice.

It is important, for social workers to engage in a comprehensive understanding of clinical substance abuse treatment, as it is the most modern approach to substance addiction. The article on substance abuse treatment also provides clinical social practitioners with a wealth of information concerning where their practices might be headed in future. There is limited information concerning the future prospects of clinical substance abuse treatment but this article provides useful insight into how the practice might look like in the years to come. Another useful aspect of Straussner’s article is its summarized arrangement of facts. The author of this article is able to identify the most important issues in relation to clinical social practice (Straussner, 2012). In addition, the author succeeds in arranging these facts in a manner that appeals to a substance abuse clinical practitioner.

According to the author of this article, understanding the past, present, and future of substance abuse treatment is quite important to a social worker. Therefore, Straussner takes her readers through a journey of substance treatment history. The author’s approach has a positive contribution towards the effectiveness of the article. For instance, the article’s introduction informs the reader that the author is going to make a coherent connection between the past and the future methods of treating substance abuse (Straussner, 2012). The author of this article is able to prove this hypothesis throughout the article. The author begins the article by looking into the history of substance abuse treatment. In this section, the author offers some pertinent information to clinical practitioners. For instance, the article looks back into the era when substance abuse began being recognized as a universal health and social issue. According to the article, substance abuse was initially considered as a social issue before it became a clinical matter. This information is quite helpful to clinical practitioners who might be in the habit of approaching substance abuse only from a clinical point of view. Understanding the connection between social and clinical aspects of substance abuse is vital for stakeholders in the fight against drug addiction.

Straussner’s article offers useful insight into the current treatment methods for alcohol and other drug addictions. The information that is provided by the article is accurate and up-to-date. For instance, the article explores various addiction management and treatment methods. Social workers are likely to encounter most of the treatment methods that are outlined in the article. It is important to note that the two most popular addiction treatment methods are included in the article. In social work, practitioners are most likely to encounter two substance abuse treatment methods; the twelve-step facilitation therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. The author of the article also does a good job in outlining scenarios where each treatment method is most appropriate. For instance, the author notes that contingency management requires a lot of social resources for it to be effective. In addition, the article recognizes that because most drugs are illegal, some drug treatment methods such as harm reduction lack government support.

The exemplary case study that is offered by the author has a narrow focus and it might not be beneficial to social workers. The case study focuses on various generations of substance abusers but the author fails to address the connection between the three generations. For instance, the woman in the case study has an alcoholic father and a drug-abusing daughter. Consequently, a competent social worker recognizes that a psychological-focused method of treatment would be most viable method. In Lydia’s case, pharmacotherapy would be most suitable as a secondary treatment method. The case study puts emphasis on pharmacotherapy at the expense of the more effective psychosocial approaches.

The article’s title is “Clinical Treatment of Substance Abusers Past, Present, and Future”. However, the author of the article addresses the future of substance abuse treatment in a summarized manner. The title of the article promises to engage readers in a comprehensive exploration of the future of clinical substance abuse treatment but the author does not deliver on this promise. Furthermore, the article only addresses the future of substance abuse treatment in a simplistic manner whilst avoiding hypothesizing on complex outlooks. It is also important to note that most of the strategies that the author considers to be futuristic are current. For example, scientists have already embarked on comprehensive studies on brain functions with the view of solving substance abuse problems (Carroll, Ball & Nich, 2006).

Another article that addresses the subject of clinical substance abuse is one by a group of clinical psychologists. The article is titled “A Randomized Clinical Trial of Behavioral Couples Therapy Versus Individually Based Treatment for Women with Alcohol Dependence”. According to the authors of this article, Behavioral couples therapy and Individual behavioral therapy produce different results when they are employed on women with alcohol addiction problems (Schumm, Kahler & Muchowski, 2014). However, the article notes that mixing couples and individual behavioral therapy produces better treatment results. The article also notes that overall, behavioral couples therapy is better than individuals behavioral therapy.

This article is important to a social worker because it offers credible information on the types of therapy that work best on female clients. Current research indicates that the number of women with substance abuse issues is on the rise (Miller & Rollnik, 2013). Consequently, there is demand for research data that addresses clinical substance abuse remedies that are women-centered. The research findings that are presented in this article can be utilized by social workers when they are dealing with family-related substance abuse problems. For instance, a social worker might have to deal with a child who has an alcoholic mother. Therefore, the social worker can enlist the support of the father to institute behavioral couples therapy.

The other article that addresses the issue of clinical substance abuse is authored by Edle Ravndal and Per Vaglum. The article is a study that focuses on the follow-up treatment of substance abusers over a seven-year period. According to this article, personality disorders are important considerations when pursuing clinical treatment for substance abuse (Ravndal & Vaglum, 2009). In addition, the article also presents research findings that indicate that self-reporting instruments are reliable in the course of clinical treatment of substance abuse. Therefore, the information provided in the article suggests that social workers are at liberty to rely on their clients for information that might be useful during substance abuse treatments. However, the authors of the article indicate that there is a valid degree of error when practitioners are using information that is gathered through self-reporting. For example, in a hypothetical situation, a social worker might be dealing with a drug user who claims that he/she has not had a relapse over a certain period of time. The only way for the social worker to find out if this information is true is through the use of tests. Nevertheless, the social worker can use the information provided by the drug user as part of treatment data and it will be reliable to a certain extent.


Carroll, K. M., Ball, S. A., & Nich, C., (2006). Motivational interviewing to improve treatment engagement and outcome in individuals seeking treatment for substance abuse: A multisite effectiveness study. Drug and alcohol dependence, 81(3), 301-312.

Miller, W.R., & Rollnik, S. (2013). Motivational Interviewing: Preparing People for Change. New York: Guilford Publishing.

Ravndal, E., & Vaglum, P. (2009). The Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory II: stability over time? A seven-year follow-up study of substance abusers in treatment. European addiction research, 16(3), 146-151.

Schumm, J. A., Kahler, C. W., & Muchowski, P. (2014). A randomized clinical trial of behavioral couples therapy versus individually based treatment for women with alcohol dependence. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 82(6), 993.

Straussner, S. L. A. (2012). Clinical treatment of substance abusers: Past, present and future. Clinical Social Work Journal, 40(2), 127-133.

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