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An Evaluation Study of the “RESTART” Program—Short-Term Residential Treatment for Addiction

Abstract

The syndrome model of addiction argues that addiction should be conceptualized as a syndrome with multiple opportunistic expressions. The model is built on the observation that despite the various manifestations of addictive behaviors, they share many commonalities in terms of the etiology and the associated consequences. This model proliferates the understanding of the high relapse rate in addiction after receiving solely symptom-focused treatment. For clinicians, this conceptual model emphasizes the importance of in-depth multidimensional assessment and treatment modality for the interacting underpinnings of addictions. In Hong Kong, very few residential services are currently provided for clients with addictive behaviors other than substance abuse. Against this background, we developed a pilot short-term residential treatment program namely “RESTART” based on the Acceptance Commitment Therapy and Expressive Arts Therapy for clients with various expressions of addiction. The program contained a 4-day and 3-night overnight residential treatment camp followed by three post-camp workshops, and a full-day camp. It aimed to help participants rebuild a positive lifestyle and raise self- efficacy and coping abilities. The program recruited 44 participants with various expressions of addiction including gambling disorder, sex addiction, compulsive buying, compulsive stealing, internet gaming disorder, alcohol, and cigarette addiction. The program evaluation focused on six outcomes, including health consciousness, motivation to build a healthy life, psychological distress, disclosure of distress, perceived emotional and life disturbance by addiction, and self-efficacy of urge management. Quasi-experimental design was adopted to compare the experimental group (program participants) and the control group with similar demographic and addiction backgrounds. They were surveyed in four intervals in which pretest before the commencement of the residential program was conducted to compare with posttest at the program endpoint and two follow-up tests in 3 months after the program. Repeated-measures general linear models indicated that relative to the control participants, the experimental participants yielded significant increase in willingness to disclose distress and self-efficacy over time, whereas their perceived disturbance by addiction significantly reduced over time. These results suggest that the residential treatment camp is a potentially promising complement to treatment for diverse addiction problems.

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Correspondence to Mei Lo Elda Chan.

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Chan, M.L.E., Cheung, W.T.N., Yeung, N.Y.D. et al. An Evaluation Study of the “RESTART” Program—Short-Term Residential Treatment for Addiction. Int J Ment Health Addiction 16, 1357–1372 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-018-9933-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-018-9933-5

Keywords

  • Addiction
  • Sydrome model
  • Treatment
  • Short-term residential program