29 ,Jun, 2019

About 12 months ago I had a 54 year client referred to me after he had attended 3 “Rehabs” all of whom diagnosed him as being addicted to alcohol and cocaine. He walked out of two of them before completing their program and stayed 30 days at the third rehab.

His family were advised by two of these facilities he needed a minimum of 90 days residential treatment and the third advised them he needed long term psychological counselling.

When he arrived for the initial consultation he was angry and felt everyone was against him.

After completing the initial Assessment and looking at his drinking and usage patterns I took a detailed history of his working and home life.

Once I was in possession of this information I formed the view he was not addicted to alcohol nor was he addicted to Cocaine. Rather, he had suffered a mid-life crisis.

Once I explained to him why I had come to this conclusion and supported the findings with the chronological facts of his life from the age of 22 his whole demeanour changed.

In conjunction with him a plan was created which included abstinence from cocaine as I explained to him while I had come to the conclusion he was not addicted to cocaine he was only a very short walk away from becoming addicted.

When it came to alcohol his plan did not include abstinence. Rather it created some boundaries around his drinking, especially when, where and how much he would drink.

It is now 12 months since he completed the 21Renew program and he has remained abstinent from cocaine and his consumption of alcohol, apart from a couple of exceptions, has stayed inside the boundaries of his plan.

He is living life to the full and is fully engaged in his business activities.

While the DSM-V and other diagnostic tools provide valuable guidelines I believe it is more important to get as detailed history of the clients home, family and working life in assessing a client’s substance issues.