Cherry-picking evidence?

Scientific American gives ink to a treatment critic:

I don’t believe that traditional rehabilitation using self-help methods is effective. In fact, the data suggest that they’re not much better than spontaneous rates of recovery.

He cites one study that looked only at alcohol dependence (DSM dependence which is likely to capture many people that may not be alcoholics, in the conventional sense of the word.), overlooks that this study was reporting on a nonclinical population and ignores that there are reams of evidence for the effectiveness of 12 step groups and 12 step facilitation.

The studies findings also indicate that those most likely to end up in treatment (people with higher severity alcohol problems, people who also use drugs, people with psychological problems, etc.) are least likely to recover without treatment.

He’s also one of the medical model purists I’ve recently blogged about:

Recent advances in neuroscience have led to a greater understanding of how alcohol and other drugs affect the brain. They have, in turn, allowed medical researchers, myself included, to begin to approach alcohol dependence as we would any other disease: by searching for effective medicine.

7 thoughts on “Cherry-picking evidence?

  1. I read that article, too, and was somewhat dismayed by it. Especially because there was another article in Scientific American that same week that cited totally different numbers! Hmmmmmm I know medical-model people who acknowledge the necessary social-behavioral components of recovery but they just can’t help themselves from focusing on a pill to change brain chemistry as the solution. I guess that’s just what they do.

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  2. I’ll be doing a post on it soon, but I’m reading Brain Rules and The Compass of Pleasure right now. They both make a pretty compelling case for the effectiveness of behavioral interventions on neurobiology.

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  3. Sounds interesting! On an unrelated note, why is my avatar a weird looking green germy thing? LOL Is this WordPress’s way of punishing Blogger users?

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      1. Well, I dunno, the green germy thing was a little more interesting than the anonymous gray box… LOL Say, would you be interested in trading blog roll links?

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  4. Aw, thanks – I appreciate it. Just noticed that when non-Blogger bloggers leave a comment on my site Blogger doesn’t give them an avatar at all! Now I feel bad…

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