New Approach for Substance Abuse among African-Americans

By RICK NAUERT PHD Senior News Editor Psychcentral:

A new study examined the effectiveness of a motivational counseling approach to treat substance abuse among African-Americans.

The study found that African-American women benefited from the approach as they were more likely than men to continue counseling—however, their substance abuse issues continued.

The study compared two clinical approaches to treating substance abuse among African Americans — Motivational Enhancement Therapy(MET) and Counseling as Usual (CAU).

The study used information discovered by the Clinical Trials Network of the National Institute of Drug Abuse examining both retention rates and the effectiveness of MET in reducing drug abuse, specifically among African-Americans.

Motivation Enhancement Therapy is a behavioral change approach that assesses an individual’s readiness to live a substance-free life or whether they’re against any treatment.

The approach is particularly designed to address the ambivalence surrounding substance abuse treatment. “The idea of MET is for counselors to help patients build motivation and strengthen commitment to behavior change,” Montgomery says.

“One technique that is commonly used in MET to facilitate this process is the use of decisional balance exercises which help patients examine the pros and cons of substance use.”

“An example would be a patient discussing what he or she considers the ‘pros’ of substance use, such as drinking alcohol to reduceanxiety,” explains Montgomery.

“However, despite its ability to help reduce the patient’s anxiety, the patient might also acknowledge that heavy drinking negatively influences their interpersonal relationships.” READ FULL ARTICLE