Can Addiction Be Fixed without Abstinence?

Playing A New Approach to Overcoming Addiction?

The Doctors share that over 20 million Americans struggle with addiction. Addiction expert and author of “The Abstinence Myth” Dr. Adi Jaffe joins The Doctors to discuss Ignite Recovery, the unique system he created to help people deal with their addictions.

Dr. Jaffe highlights the problem that only 10% of people who struggle with addiction engage in treatment programs. While the reported success rate of those people is about 30-35% at the end of treatment, once you look a few years out, Dr. Jaffe says there isn’t much separation between those who got professional help and those who tried to do it on their own.

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Dr. Jaffe is not saying that abstinence is the wrong goal, but that it shouldn’t be a requirement for entering treatment. He points out that while many people do want help, they aren’t necessarily willing to quit. He wants to remove the stereotypes and stigmas around alcoholism and addiction and the belief that relapse means failure.

Dr. Jaffe uses his approach to work on fixing the underlying issues that are causing the addiction, like negative relationships and past experiences. He shares the story of one woman who could never fully stop her drinking but after working with him and focusing on why she used alcohol as a coping strategy, now only drinks a few times a year on special occasions.

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What about people with serious opioid and drug addictions like heroin? Dr. Jaffe clarifies that he’s not saying occasional use is okay for these people but unlike in rehab, he doesn’t think a heroin user must also say he’s never going to have a beer again. Recovery should be a myriad of choices and not so black and white according to Dr. Jaffe.