Natural Recovery or Recovery without Treatment from Alcohol and Drug Problems as Seen from Survey Data

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Much of what is known about self-change or recovery without treatment from alcohol and drug problems comes from general population studies or special samples from sources other than treatment centers. In this chapter, reports from large-scale population surveys and community studies as well as those from smaller samples obtained by advertising or other means will be reviewed. Such studies provide good estimates of how many people in the larger society have alcohol and drug problems that resolved without formal treatment. These studies also help in understanding the characteristics of those who recover without treatment. The advantages and disadvantages of using various interview methods and what questions are still unanswered about natural recovery in large populations will be examined. Finally, practical suggestions based on this research will be discussed.