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How can we assist in the lives of people with alcohol and  drug problems, without making things worse? The  influence of Viktor Frankl’s philosophy, interpersonal psychotherapy and public health

How can we assist in the lives of people with alcohol and drug problems, without making things worse? The influence of Viktor Frankl’s philosophy, interpersonal psychotherapy and public health

Free will still operates to a certain extent in dependence on alcohol or other drugs. Frankl’s work emphasised a will to find meaning and purpose in life, and a specifically human dimension, characterised by self-detachment and self-transcendence. Self-transcendence refers to the process of relating to something or someone other than oneself. However, ‘the essence of intoxication is the turning away from the objective world of being towards subjective experience’. (Frankl 1967) Several landmark studies have found improvement quite unrelated to any formal treatment in the resolution of drinking problems. (Vaillant 1983) (Edwards et al.1987) (Brady 1993) Often the reasons for change are examples of self-transcendence: concern for loved ones, religious involvement and prayer, or commitment to work, sport or other causes.

Recovery and Rehabilitation will be considered in the context of dependence on alcohol or other drugs, while the role of ‘Harm Minimisation’ will also be explored. There is a need to prevent, or at least recognise cognitive impairment as a factor which can undermine the effectiveness of treatment or self-management. Social isolation is a common issue for people dependent on alcohol or other drugs. Breaking old habits is especially hard if a person uses the drug to deal with boredom or isolation, and does not have other friends or supports who abstain. Do treatment options take account of common coexisting psychological disorders and personality traits? Are treatment programs a good place to form new social networks? How can clinicians remain realistic, but hopeful

Conference: Demo
Areas of Interest / Categories: Public Health