Blog Archive


The Stanton Peele Addiction Website, March 3, 2008

America’s Abstinence Fixation “Bites” the Dust

America’s treatment for substance abuse is actually warmed over temperance preaching – “Don’t do it! Don’t try it! Quit it!” It’s not treatment. It’s not practical. It’s not effective.

The New York Times featured an article about the growth in treatment addressing both substance abuse and eating disorders. Of course, the similarities between the two conditions – and that they often occur together – belies the entire NIDA model of scouring the brain to prove the special addictive properties of drugs.

The Times makes the following obvious points:

As more patients seek treatment for both eating disorders and substance abuse, a complicated set of mixed messages can arise. The response to addiction is abstinence; but quitting food is not an option.

"We're trying to get our patients to find effective behaviors and life skills," said Dr. Kevin Wandler, the vice president for medical services at Remuda Ranch, which addresses both eating disorders and addiction . . . .

That’s right – good addiction treatment develops coping skills and new ways of filling time, finding satisfaction, and regulating emotions other than relying on food and drugs. Ironically, the spread of our misbegotten model of addiction and its treatment has led it to the realization that it can’t be right.