The Treatment of Alcohol and Drug Addiction: An Overview

  • David Waxman


The greatly increased evidence of drug taking in general, the misery which is caused by this abuse and the death toll which results, requires the continued attention of every serious minded physician. It is essential that each patient be considered as an individual and that his own personal needs be fully explored. The therapist must retain an eclectic view of all forms of treatment available and apply or adapt them as required.

In this paper physical and psychological dependency is considered and the wide are of the common drugs of abuse is reviewed. A detailed summary of the recent literature on the treatment of alcoholism using hypnosis is discussed.

It is emphasized that the problem of alcoholism as well as that of all types of drug dependency, addiction and misuse should be examined over the entire range of the patient’s life situation, including cultural background, early environment, peer groups, social habits, marital and family relationships as well as of his own personality, threshold of anxiety and coping abilities.

A full psychiatric and psychosocial assessment must be made of each patient. It is desirable that a trained social worker investigates the social background and environment and institutes whatever immediate assistance and follow up support that can be given in this area and that the family can be counselled and guided through the difficult weeks, months or even years ahead.

The use of psychopharmological drugs and other techniques is considered and the therapist is warned that he must be prepared to shoulder responsibility not only for the immediate treatment of the patient but for the long term surveillance and support of someone with a basis personality difficulty.

Thou hast the keys of Paradise, oh just, subtle, and mighty opium! (De Quincey 1821).


Drug Addiction Drug Dependence Road Accident Psychosocial Assessment Citrate Calcium 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Waxman
    • 1
  1. 1.Central Middlesex HospitalLondonEngland

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