Recently, the Wall Street Journal reported on “new” anti-addiction medications and treatment advances for combatting alcoholism. At Enterhealth, we were happy to see the article but, quite frankly, it was all old news to us – everything stated in the article reflected what we at Enterhealth have been saying and practicing for years.
The article starts off, “New understanding of how alcohol affects the brain is prompting addiction experts to make a push for using medications to help people quit or cut down on excessive drinking.” Eight years ago, our chief medical officer, Dr. Harold C. Urschel, III, explained all of this in his best-selling book, “Healing the Addicted Brain.” While the majority of the treatment industry scoffed at these ideas, Dr. Urschel and Enterhealth were at the forefront of using some these medications to help our patients.
A few other areas cited in the article also caught our attention:
- Experts say individualized treatment for alcoholism is most effective.
- Anti-addiction medications are seldom used by treatment providers, “largely because 12-step programs have dominated the treatment field.”
- The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) says alcoholics are unlikely to get addicted to anti-addiction medications, “a concern of more traditional treatment programs in the past.”
Our response in a nutshell: At Enterhealth, we have some strong opinions about how addiction should be treated and why the addiction treatment and insurance industries have been living in the past. When we founded Enterhealth, we were among a handful of providers that advocated addiction as a disease and used the latest advancements in medicine and therapy to improve patient outcomes.
We appreciate the Wall Street Journal for writing this article, even it if it was “old news” to us. Although we’ve advocated that addiction be treated as a chronic brain disease and have taken a leading role in use of evidence-based practices, there are still a lot of people – including doctors – who are not aware of these advances in addiction treatment.