General Psychology

Substance Use Disorders: Alcohol and Drugs


How Alcohol and Drugs Contribute to Substance Use Disorders

Motivation level for change is an important variable when it comes to seeing an effective treatment plan (Barlow, 2014). The two videos are closely related in that they explore the nature and will of recovery for two separate patients both suffering from drug addiction.  It is notable that Marlatt’s client is cross-addicted to both alcohol and drugs (American Psychological Association I, 2011). Meanwhile, Miller’s client is focused on a drug addiction (American Psychological Association II, 2011). Larry (Marlatt’s client), stresses very heavily that a twelve-step program is crucial for recovery, pointing out literature and many helpful tips which may help another individual suffering from addiction (2011). Larry is extremely motivated to maintain sobriety and the positive changes he has seen in his life from his life changes. Miller’s client (Pat) appears a bit less motivated to change, although does admit there is a problem and that steps have been taken to try and correct the problem (2011).  Pat does recognize there is a residual urge to turn to drugs once again, even enumerating on in-depth knowledge of several treatment methods which are drug-oriented, such as methadone.

Larry appears to be in a maintenance stage of change. This is because Larry is maintaining his regular action of sobriety, which includes his effective treatment method resulting from the twelve-step program.  He regularly maintains meetings, chairs meetings, and spreads literature. He also has noted the importance of maintaining a sponsor (American Psychological Association I, 2011). Pat appears to be in the preparation stage of change.  This is because Pat is interested in many methods of treatment which will help maintain the sobriety (American Psychological Association II, 2011). Additionally, one would assume contemplation has advanced beyond just planning.

In the end, the twelve-step programs appear to be extremely effective from the outside look, and many studies have proven them to work (Ferri et al., 2006).  Methadone and similar treatment plans are also well-known to be effective for many people in terms of reducing more serious drug cravings (Murphy et al., 2017).  It is still essential that a treatment plan is personalized for an individual, not just based upon the patient’s personality, but also the drugs and substances they are suffering addiction from. And regardless of the treatment plan, it is always going to be essential that a patient has a high motivation level for change in order for the plan to possess any chance of being effective.


American Psychological Association I, (2011). Preventing Relapse in a Twelve Step Program of Recovery (Part 1 of 2). APA PsycTherapy.

American Psychological Association II, (2011). Treatment for Drug Abuse Using Motivational Interviewing. APA PsycTherapy.

Barlow, D. H. (2014). Clinical handbook of psychological disorders, 5th ed. New York, NY: The Guilford Press. ISBN: 9781462513260.

Ferri,  M., Amato, L., Davoli, M., (2006). Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12‐step programmes for alcohol dependence. Cochrane Database of Systematic Review. Iss. 3. Art. No.: CD005032. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005032.pub2. Murphy, Glenn, Szokol, Joseph, Avram, Michael, Greenberg, Steven, Shear, Torin, Deshur, Mark, et al. (2017). Clinical Effectiveness and Safety of Intraoperative Methadone in Patients Undergoing Posterior Spinal Fusion Surgery: A Randomized, Double-blinded, Controlled Trial. Anesthesiology, 126, 822-833.

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