The gold standard

gold standard   definition of gold standard by Medical dictionary

Recovery Review has a terrific post reviewing a journal article examining addiction treatment for physicians.

He pulled this from the source journal article:

Recognizing that SUDs are biological disorders with major behavioral components (just like diabetes and coronary artery disease), the relatively high level of success exhibited by physicians whose care is managed by PHP is important with respect to the potential for success in addiction treatment generally. Indeed, the observed rate of success among physicians directly contradicts the common misperception that relapse is both inevitable and common, if not universal, among patients recovering from SUDs.

Recovery Review summarizes the elements of Physician Health Programs:

  • Doctors sign binding contracts
  • Abstinence is the goal
  • Weekly doctor-specific mutual aid groups
  • Attendance at 12-step mutual aid groups (AA, NA, CA etc)
  • The regulatory boards are often avoided if doctors comply
  • Extended care (five years)
  • Recovery often starts with an active/planned intervention
  • This is followed by an intensive residential (or out-patient) rehab period, usually three months long
  • Withdrawal from work during treatment
  • Active monitoring and care management
  • Active family engagement
  • Mental & physical health needs assessed
  • Active management of relapse
  • Random drug and alcohol tests over the five years

He also summarizes the take-aways to improving treatment for other populations:

  1. Adopt the contingency management aspects of PHPs
  2. Offer frequent random drug testing
  3. Create tight linkages with 12-step programmes and abstinence standards
  4. Active management of relapse by intensified treatment and monitoring
  5. Continuing care approach
  6. Focus on lifelong recovery

This is an important and extremely well written post. Please read the whole thing here.

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