When it comes to relapse from alcoholism, very little progress has been made since the whole idea of treatment began. In fact, relapse is more likely to occur today than 20 years ago and we can thank Big Pharma for that. 

 

My work as a drug and alcohol addiction counselor provides me with an inside perspective of the chemical dependency treatment industry. This has caused me to view many industry policies as dishonest, and wasteful. 

Admittedly, I don’t follow the guidelines that, in my opinion, too often promote useless dogma under the guise of efficacious treatment. My opinions invite accusations of me not being a "team player," which I welcome, so long as I can improve a few lives.

 

Dual-Diagnosis: Big Pharma and Addiction Treatment

Twenty years ago Big Pharma was only realizing the tremendous potential to profit from distorting the natural order of life’s chemicals. New drugs like Prozac were hitting the market, promising to lift depression and flip your happy switch.

With the pills ready to go, all they needed was a market. Enter the drug and alcohol addiction treatment industry, an insurance covered ready-made market of men and women, open to the idea of using foreign chemicals to alter their mood. 

Of course “foreign chemicals” isn’t the term Big Pharma uses, they call their concoctions “meds.” Nevertheless, the unholy marriage of the pharmaceutical industry and the treatment industry took off, formalized with the term “dual-diagnosis.” 

 

The Alcoholism Treatment Industry has Always Ignored Scientific Evidence

The backbone of the industry is psychotherapy which explains why they have always treated alcoholics as if their primary problem was mental. That concept was, and remains, sacred and non-negotiable. 

However, alcoholics also demonstrate a plethora of coexisting issues:

For these issues, Big-Pharma’s concoctions fill the other half of the dual diagnosis tag. 

 

Profitable for Everyone Except the Poor Souls Being Treated

Let's look at what contemporary alcoholism treatment provides for the alcoholic … psychotherapy and toxic drugs. In other words talk, which is meaningless for a biochemical issue, and toxic chemicals, which exacerbate biochemical imbalances even more.

In truth, alcoholics would be better off if they just got the therapy. Sure it doesn't do much good; relapse within the first year is guaranteed for 80% of those who go this route, but at least they wouldn't compound their addiction with other drugs. 

Treating alcoholism by giving drugs is more than unethical, It’s criminal. Especially when you consider alcoholics are seeking help to stop a chemical addiction. Today, relapse has become so common that the industry no longer wants treatment providers to monitor relapse frequency and there is an official explanation for this policy shift. 

“Relapse is part of the recovery process.” That’s like your mechanic telling you that breakdowns are part of the repair process. 

Keep in mind, before the appearance of dual diagnosis programs, treatment outcomes from different treatment programs were monitored and recorded by the government every year.

Since the treatment industry teamed up with Big Pharma, treatment outcomes have either become too embarrassing to monitor, or too outrageous to reveal to the many thousands of unsuspecting people who have gambled their lives on the treatment industry.

 

How Do We Improve Outcomes?

In order to be successful, we must acknowledge and keep track of what works and what doesn’t. Clearly improving the way treatment addresses alcoholism is not what the proponents of dual-diagnosis programs want. Why should they?

As long as no one fully recovers, the industry will always flourish, and they’ll always have customers, and they’ll always have a job. In other words, relapse is a great source of revenue for both the pharmaceutical and treatment industry. 

Considering the contemporary policies of dual-diagnosis treatment, we see that the authentic underlying causes of alcoholism are never truly identified or treated. Until they are the rate of alcohol addiction relapse will continue to increase.