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What project can I make out of Drug-Alcohol Abuse Psychology research?

I am a senior in high school, and we have to do a big graduation project that consists of a 5-page paper, 15 hours with a mentor, and a final presentation in front of judges. The topic I was considering was A Day In The Life of a Psychologist. Substance Abuse, more specifically. My paper could be about how drug and alcohol abuse has grown/stopped/whatever in America over the last 60 or so years. What could I do as a final presentation? I was thinking, maybe a step-by-step plan for a recovering adolescent, but I'm not really sure. Any suggestions?

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  • 1 decade ago
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    Here's a primer on alcoholism treatment, from research I've done.

    There is evidence that, on the average, recovery with AA and counseling have very similar outcomes and that there may be very similar outcomes with different counseling methods. The evidence is in the 1998 report of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism study Project MATCH, the most elaborate study on the treatment of alcoholism ever conducted, also the most elaborate study of psychotherapy methods, run at a cost of $27 million (Glaser et al., 1999; Bower, 1997). Its main purpose was to search for ways to tailor help for individual alcoholics by matching personal characteristics with types of treatment. Although the matching results are controversial, the project has changed thinking about treatment. There were three treatments in the MATCH study, all consisting of counseling. One was based on the 12 steps of AA. The other two made use of research-based methods. In their description of the overall outcome of the program, the MATCH Research Group said that there were few differences between the three treatments. Because of the overall high success rate of the subjects, this study is part of the research that supports the more optimistic view of treatment and recovery.

    To some degree, individual experience is unpredictable. AA sponsors are not all the same. Neither are counselors.

    The ideal in recovery is to simply stop drinking and stay sober. In reality, the typical alcoholic who is successful in achieving a lasting sobriety will have failed at least once during recovery (Prochaska et al., 1992). If an alcoholic were to ask, “Would I fail with AA?” the answer would have to be, “Probably, at least once.” The same is true of other treatments.

    Mesa Grande is a University of New Mexico project that reports on alcohol studies (Miller & Wilbourne, 2002). William R. Miller, coauthor of the 2002 Mesa Grande report, was a key figure in the development of Motivation Enhancement, one of the three approaches tested in Project MATCH (Miller and Rollnick, 1991; Miller & Sanchez, 1994). He concluded a 1998 review of studies with this comment.

    >>>Although no one of these works for all or even most clients on the first try, the fact is that in the long run most people with serious alcohol problems do resolve them and go on to live more stable and happy lives ... A helpful and honest message is, “We can work together to try what seems most likely to help you. If it works, great. If not, don’t be discouraged or take it personally. It most likely would mean that we hadn’t yet found the right approach for you. There are many different ways in which people change successfully.”>>>

    Bower B. (1997). Alcoholics synonymous: Heavy drinkers of all stripes may get comparable help from a variety of therapies. Science News, vol. 151, no. 4, p. 62.

    Glaser, F.B., Heather N., & Drummond, D.C. (1999). Comments on Project MATCH: Matching alcohol treatments to client heterogeneity. Addiction, vol. 94, no. 1, p. 31.

    Miller, W.R., & Rollnick, S. (1991). Motivational interviewing: Preparing people to change addictive behavior. New York: Guilford.

    Miller, W. R. & Wilbourne, P. L. (2002). Mesa Grande: A methodological analysis of clinical trials of treatments for alcohol use disorders. Addiction, vol. 97, no.3, p.265.

    Miller, W.R. & Sanchez, V.C. (1994). Motivating young adults for treatment and lifestyle change. In G. Howard (Ed.), Issues in alcohol use and misuse by young adults. Notre Dame, IN: Norte Dame Press.

    Prochaska, J.O., DiClemente, C.C., Velicer, F., & Rossi, J.S. (1992). Criticisms and concerns of the transtheoretical model in light of recent research. British Journal of Addiction, vol. 87, no. 6, p. 825.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Talk about the transition of alcohol from a control issue to a disease.

    Alcoholism is not a disease. The AA model is no more effective than 'abstinence, controlled drinking, or aversion techniques." There are also programs like SOS. (You look it up.)

    I recommend Penn and Teller's Alcoholism or Alcoholics Anonymous on You Tube to get you started. It's fun and it will give you some basic facts about AA that are true.

    From there, you can start your research and see for yourself if their assertions are worthy of reporting on.

    Good Luck

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