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Toward personalized care for addictive disorders

September 23, 2013
by Charlene Marietti
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Addiction disorders are challenging. What causes them? Why are some people more susceptible than others? And how can care providers diagnose and provide optimal treatment to those with the disorder? These are all questions that undergo constant revision as new research emerges to provide insight into the disorders and best practices in treatment.

Periodically, experts update diagnostic manuals and treatment guidelines to reflect the latest research and treatment guidelines. This year has brings two updated manuals to addiction professionals. The American Psychiatric Association released The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition in May. Complementing the DSM-5’s classification and diagnostic tool is the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s The ASAM Criteria: Treatment Criteria for Addictive, Substance-Related, and Co-Occurring Conditions.

At the NCAD conference currently under way in Anaheim, Calif., David Mee-Lee, M.D., (left) senior vice president for The Change Companies, Carson City, Nev., highlighted major updates and their collective goals. The updated guidelines provide “a common language across all healthcare systems,” he said. “There is more integration with mental health to stop the revolving door.”

The new layouts in the ASAM and DSM-5 walk the clinician from assessment to service planning to level-of-care placement and continuing care, he noted. The guidelines are person-centered and outcomes-driven. In addition, there is a new section of working effectively with managed care and healthcare reform.

The bottom line: “We are really trying to encourage high-individualized treatment,” said Mee-Lee. And clinicians need ongoing feedback from clients. That will require integration of the treatment plan and feedback into a continuum of care in the same way as they treat biomedical disorders such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

“We need to have changes in our field if we are going to make progress, “he adds.

Click here to read Mee-Lee’s recent article “Evolution or Revolution,” published in Addiction Professional.