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Original Research

Twelve-Step Programs as an Adjunct to Psychotherapy and Psychopharmacology

Arnold Chanin, MD

Published: August 1, 2000

Article Abstract

With increasing constraints on time for traditional psychotherapy and patient counseling, it behooves us to find other methods of giving the patient tools to cope with his or her illness. In addition to psychotropic medications that have never before been available (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and related compounds) and crisis intervention, we have a plethora of 12-step programs that can give the individual ongoing support. Our goal is to restore the patient to full psychosocial function, avoiding self-medication, drug and alcohol abuse, and the cycle of hopelessness, despair, death, and suicide. We are concerned with the patient’s lifelong maintenance and state of balance, finding a spiritual center from which to grow as an individual, and ultimately, to help others with similar problems. Twelve-step programs serve as a viable means of achieving these goals. Along with medication, support, encouragement, and therapy when available, patients can be guided to achieve new levels of meaning and fulfillment in their lives.

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