What is the significance of readiness to change in the treatment of alcoholism?

Updated: Nov 27, 2018
  • Author: Warren Thompson, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Answer

Indicate the responsibility for change is with the patient. Listen to the patient's goals and point out discrepancies between his or her goals and actions.

Determine the patient's readiness for change. Motivating a reluctant patient is one of the great challenges in treatment. To enhance the prospects of successful treatment, the clinician needs to have a basic concept of the stages of change. The 5 stages of change (Prochaska,) provide fundamental guidance for enhancing motivation. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment presents this concept in detail through a Treatment Improvement Protocol titled "Enhancing Motivation for Change in Substance Abuse Treatment." The 5 stages of change are precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. Specific strategies aligned with each of the 5 stages help a clinician motivate and prepare the patient for change. The 5 stages of change represent a cycle, permitting and explaining behavior that moves in both progressive and regressive directions.


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