The Pennsylvania Model of Recovery

Alcoholism is a big problem throughout the world and the treatment for it varies widely from counseling to prescription drug treatments. Alcohol recovery can be hard to deal with for the patient, their family and their friends. The issue of alcoholism is quite common and has probably affected far more people than the statistics tell us.

The current figures for alcohol abuse tell us that 1 in 6 people in the United States have a drinking problem. The reasons for alcohol dependence are numerous but they all inherently rely on the fact that alcoholism is an addiction brought about by the euphoric feeling associated with drinking.

The Pennsylvania Model of Recovery is a treatment based on evidence rather than other types of treatment that may rely on spiritual or faith as their base for treatment. The method requires the use of approved medications as part of its make up, along with counseling procedures that encapsulate cognitive behavioral therapy.

The method is named after the research that was undertaken by Dr. Joseph Volpicelli at the University of Pennsylvania’s Treatment Research Center in Philadelphia. Dr Volpicelli through his research at the unit began to realize that alcohol dependence was in fact a disease with distinct biological, social and psychological components.

He believed that the treatment of alcohol dependence required a new approach after his findings that involved a wider scope. He recognized that drugs such as Naltrexone were an important part of the treatment process as used in the Sinclair Method. The difference between the Sinclair Method and his approach was his belief that there needed to be a psychosocial approach to the patients treatment also.

The Pennsylvania Model recognizes that most people that are dependent on alcohol and want to be helped can’t get past the first stage, which is the intense craving they have for alcohol. Their intense craving has been built up through repeated behavior over several years and the possibility of them relapsing is all the more likely. The University of Pennsylvania can draw upon 30 years of clinical trials as evidence of its approach to the treatment of alcoholism. Also the respect of its peers in the scientific community at large in recognizing their pioneering research into the methods they suggest.

Dr. Volpicelli’s lack of enthusiasm for the established treatment methods such as AA, hastened him to bring to the wider attention of alcoholism treatment professionals the need for new ways to deal with the treatment of alcohol dependents. In 1997 the Assisted Recovery Centers of America alongside Dr. Volpicelli became the first providers to accept the Pennsylvania method of Recovery and all of it protocols. The medication Naltrexone helps to break the cycle allowing the individual to focus on the recovery stage.

Using the psychological tools available such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and also Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy the patient can begin to set goals on becoming alcohol free. Continued therapy will work to help the patient become more motivated, positive and work towards a more healthy way of living without the need for alcohol.