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Do 12-Step Programs Really Work?

From the Show: Staying Well
Summary: Studies have shown 12-step and abstinence treatments have low success rates.
Air Date: 7/21/14
Duration: 10
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest Bio: Adi Jaffe, PhD
Dr Adi JaffeDr. Adi Jaffe received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2010.

Even before he graduated Dr. Jaffe's name had become known through his online and academic writing. He has been featured on EXTRA, The Insider, Larry King, CNN shows, HLN shows, People Magazine and Entertainment Tonight amongst many others.

His views on addiction and his research on the topic have been published in dozens of journals and online publications and he has appeared on several television shows and documentaries discussing current topics in addiction and the problem of addiction as a whole.

Dr. Jaffe also teaches courses at UCLA and the California State University in Long Beach that address addiction specifically or biological psychology and behavioral neuroscience more generally.

Dr. Jaffe's view is a holistic one, drawing from the best and most recent research to bring as complete a solution to addiction clients.

At Alternatives, Dr. Jaffe serves as the Executive Director of research, education, and innovation and is in charge of client monitoring, technology solutions, data collections and outcomes research. His goal is to make Alternatives the best treatment program there is.
Do 12-Step Programs Really Work?
Alcoholics Anonymous, known as AA, was first originated in the 1930s in order to help those suffering from addiction.

Throughout the decades, AA and many other 12-step programs have been the number one strategy used to fight and conquer alcoholism and many other addictions.

However, researchers have been looking into the 12-step program to see if this is the best option for those looking to stay sober.

Many studies have found the 12-step program method, specifically used in AA, does not always see successful results. In fact, these studies have identified success rates to be between five and ten percent.

Why might this method fail more often than it succeeds?

Some individuals might have a problem with how AA sets up its program; basically saying you are "powerless" against your addiction. Another reason why the 12-step program might fail is its faith-based principles. Some people have a hard time agreeing to this and "letting go" to a higher power.

What are some alternative routes towards recovery and ways to get help that will work for you?

In regards to substance use (and abuse) you're typically looked at as either an addict or not. In other words, you either have a problem or you don't. This leads to abstinence as the only recovery option. 

Many recovery treatments are moving away from this notion that if you are in a 12-step program you have to remove alcohol from your life forever.

Where can you go if you don't want to follow a 12-step program recovery plan?

Alternatives Executive Director, Dr. Adi Jaffe, discusses the success rate of AA and other 12-step programs, as well as if it is the best option and what other treatment options are available for the type of treatment you're seeking.
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