Disrupted Physician 101.5: The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) uses (or misuses) Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

Disrupted Physician


 The goal of the ASAM has always been to get the medical establishment to accept 12-step spiritual recovery.

AMSA evolved into the ASAM AMSA evolved into the ASAM

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine The ASAM Principles of Addiction Medicineis the “go-to textbook in the specialty of addiction medicine” and:

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The 4th Edition of The ASAM Principles of Addiction Medicine contains an entire section entitled “Mutual Help, Twelve Step, and Other Recovery Programs” containing three chapters entitled “Twelve Step Programs in Recovery,”1 “Recent Research into Twelve Step Programs”2 and “Spirituality in the Recovery Process.”3

Despite the all-encompassing title of this 31-page section (pages 911-942) no “other recovery programs” are described. In fact, no other programs bar 12-step ideology are even mentioned.

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I have read through each chapter word-for-word three times just to be sure; and although the chronic relapsing brain disease model of addiction requiring lifelong abstinence and…

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5 thoughts on “Disrupted Physician 101.5: The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) uses (or misuses) Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

  1. I wonder if they know what “evidence based” actually means.. because those of us in research know that addiction is a structural change of the brain and not a psychological one… it is like trying to reduce a hand of 6 fingers to 5 by psychological treatment… every time I read “evidence based” I cringe… it instantly equates with “bad science” to me…

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  2. Good point “Cluelessdoctor”. With all due respect to psychotherapy, how is a therapist supposed to talk an opioid dependent patient out of the extreme bowel pain caused by the pseudo-obstruction of chronic opioid use, much less out of cardiac arrhythmias… or for that matter how would a psychotherapist talk an alcoholic out of DT’s during alcohol withdrawal?

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    • Precisely Leslie (I am Angela by the way… sorry.. I forget that my name appears as my blog name). Furthermore, the more you think about “evidence based”… is there such as “no evidence based”? I think the meaning of “evidence based” is weak at best and totally meaningless at worst no matter what you apply it to.

      In terms of addiction, we now have ability to use fMRI to see the structural changes. For example, having a drug or alcohol lights up the D2 receptors in patients–assuming they have them!!! Those who do not have those D2 receptors (or have fewer of them as a result of their habits) are called “addicted.” D2 cannot (for now) be rebuilt. Not exactly sure how and what AA does since there is no “recovery” only will power…

      I must also add that eating sugar lights up the exact same D2. Sugar was shows (by some research I cannot recall now) 6 times more addictive than cocaine or heroin… do we have SA (Sugar Anonymous) yet??? 😉 And amazingly sugar is being pushed on us… I wonder.. hmmm.. is that money that talks? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Enjoyed your perspective. Thank you for sharing. There is more to neurophysiologic dependency than brain receptors, but brain receptors for sugar addiction is certainly food for thought (Sorry about the pun).

        Liked by 2 people

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