Research Objective: Self-help is gaining increased acceptance among treatment professionals as support for of its effectiveness is growing. Traditional "one disease-one recovery" self-help programs cannot serve adequately the needs of the dually-diagnosed.
This paper presents one-year outcome data from a longitudinal study of the effectiveness of self-help for the dually-diagnosed.
The people are members of Double Trouble in Recovery (DTR), a 12-step self-help program designed to meet the special needs of those diagnosed with both a mental health disorder and a chemical addiction.Study.
Design: The study uses a 12-month prospective longitudinal design with follow-ups at 12 and 24 months after baseline. Three hundred and thirty people were recruited at 25 DTR meeting sites throughout New York City. Semi-structured questionnaires were used to assess history and current status of mental health and substance abuse, treatment in both areas, and self help participation (DTR as well as traditional 12-step groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous).
Most people attend outpatient treatment (for drug use, mental health or dual-diagnosis – 77%) and take psychotropic medications (87%).
At the 12 months follow-up,
- 76% were still attending DTR;
- 68% were also attending AA or NA.
Mean number of symptoms people experienced in the past year decreased significantly;
- two-thirds (69%) of people reported that their mental health was "better" in the past month than it was at baseline.
- One-third (29%) reported substance use in the past year, compared to 42% at baseline.
Less substance use was significantly associated with DTR attendance:
- Total time abstinent was related to lifetime length of DTR attendance and
- past year substance use was related to number of months of DTR attendance in the past year.
Conclusions: For dually-diagnosed individuals, continued participation in dual recovery self-help groups plays a significant role in the recovery process, particularly in the area of substance use.
Implications for Policy, Delivery or Practice: Participation in dual-recovery self-help groups, both during and after formal treatment, should be encouraged as part of an integrated lifelong recovery plan for dually-diagnosed individuals.
Research; One-Year Outcomes among Members of a Dual-Recovery Self-Help Program. Laudet A, Magura S, Vogel H, Knight E, Staines G; Abstr Acad Health Serv Res Health Policy Meet. 2000; 17.
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