201394 Treatment of addiction: Pharmacotherapy and spirituality

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Michelle Gouker , School of Pharmacy, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Curtis Geier , School of Pharmacy, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Carmela Andrada , School of Pharmacy, University of Washington, Shoreline, WA
Abby Frye , School of Pharmacy, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Pharmacists are considered the “drug experts”. We focus a considerable amount of our education on mastering drug knowledge and therapeutics. Can we treat recovering addicts properly if we only know about medications?? Are drugs the best treatment for patients in recovery? What are the other options? Our poster examines two different perspectives regarding the treatment of addiction: pharmacotherapy and spirituality.

Patients attempting to recover from addiction must conquer both the craving and the behavioral aspects of their addiction. Modern addiction pharmacotherapy has numerous drugs available to decrease cravings and stabilize withdrawal. However, pharmacotherapy is not successful at treating the behavioral and spiritual aspect of addiction. Patients entering recovery are often “broken” spiritually and need support and motivation to remain sober. Programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and spiritual support groups provide social and behavioral learning that cannot be accomplished with pharmacotherapy alone.

Efforts to treat addiction should focus on both pharmacotherapy and spirituality in order to provide patients with optimal therapy and decrease the chance of relapse. Not every patient responds in the same manner to both components of treatment, therefore it is necessary to adjust treatment to fit the patient's needs. As pharmacists, we can contribute positively to a patient's recovery by understanding that medications are not the only treatment modality and by having a better understanding of the resources available for spiritual recovery from addiction.

Learning Objectives:
1. Define two perspectives of treating addiction 2. Explain why pharmacotherapy should not be used as monotherapy for patients with addiction. 3. Identify options for behavioral treatment for patients with addiction 4. Describe the role of the pharmacist in the treatment of patients with addiction.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: We are PharmD. students at the University of Washington with a special interest in addiction. In addition, we have all taken additional coursework in addiction and recovery.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.