The Link Between Anxiety and Sobriety

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On September 30 – October 3 I attended the Moments of Change Conference in West Palm Beach Florida. This year the hot topic was Addiction Treatment Outcomes. I was fortunate to attend a presentation delivered by Joanna Conti, CEO of Vista Research Group, Inc.

Right now, families looking to place a loved one in treatment have little evidence to guide them in evaluating one facility from another. Insurance covers a small percentage of the total cost of recovery. Most families must rely on anecdotal evidence or their own limited research to determine the best facility and modality. Costs can skyrocket because:

  • Poor selection: the program was right not right for the patient; hence a second program must be found.
  • Relapse: the patient was not prepared to stop using

Vista Research Group’s methodology requires patients to self-report. While some feel that self-reporting has its limitations, I for one feel that the pros outweigh the cons. One member of the audience questioned whether or not we can rely on an addict to tell the truth; that urine samples or other drug testing would be more reliable. Joanna argues that the costs of using third parties to administer these tests would be prohibitive. I would add the following:

  • While addicts lie, they have an ulterior motive to do so. What is their motivation to lie when their responses are kept anonymous? They have nothing to gain from lying.
  • Many of the questions are subjective, requiring the patient to comment on how they feel. How can you independently gather that information?

Armed with data, Joanna provided some very interesting insights. What caught my attention was the relationship between the perceived anxiety level at discharge and the likelihood of relapse. According to Vista Research Group, 40% of patients who reported having mild or no anxiety at discharge were reachable and claimed to be sober 6 months after discharge. For patients who reported a high level of anxiety at discharge, only 23% remained sober.

In my experiences, the leading causes of anxiety are current finances and future career prospects. By providing those in recovery the knowledge to manage their personal finances and pursue meaningful work, we can significantly improve their chances of long-term recovery.

I offer a program specifically designed to help families battling addiction face their financial fears and allow them to move forward with confidence.

To obtain a full copy of the Vista Research Group’s report, click here.

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