Drug Rehab Patient-Treatment Matching

For several decades it has been suggested that matching alcoholic patients to drug rehabs based on their particular characteristics may have the potential to improve alcoholism treatment outcomes. This idea developed from observations that alcoholics differ and that while many benefit from treatment, no single treatment has been shown to be effective for all. In fact, in many areas of medicine, matching patients to treatments on the basis of patient characteristics is widely practiced; for example, patients with a cancer diagnosis may be matched to surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy.

Interest in matching for alcoholism treatment accelerated as evidenced from more than 30 studies accumulated in the literature. These studies examined the interaction between a number of treatment approaches (e.g., coping-skills training, interactional therapy, or relationship enhancement) and patients with particular characteristics to determine whether certain patients would benefit more from one type of treatment than another. Examples of the patient characteristics that were matched to particular treatments included psychiatric severity, sociopathy, cognitive impairment, and high or low social support.

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