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How much treatment does a person need? Addiction, spontaneous remission and "family" as biographical as leitmotiv



How much treatment does a person need? Addiction, spontaneous remission and "family" as biographical as leitmotiv



Schweizerische Rundschau für Medizin Praxis 83(34): 937-949



Referring to theoretical and empirical examples taken from psychiatry, psychology and sociology, this paper first clarifies the dimensions and application of concepts such as 'natural recovery' and 'spontaneous remission'. In order to illustrate the general development of research in the area of therapy free drug remission from a purely quantitative approach to a qualitative, ethnographic one, two studies are referred to: the classic Vietnam veteran study done by Robins and a longitudinal analysis of a network of cocaine users. This is also supplemented by the latest results from Germany. Next, the empirical results of the ongoing spontaneous remitter follow-up study from the Swiss Institute for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Problems (SIPA) are presented. The analysis of the gender specific processes involved in the long-term stabilization of heroin autoremission, taking the support of social surroundings into consideration, shows the following: independent of gender, a high stability of autoremission was determined four years after the initial survey. In only three out of thirty cases has there been a relapse since the first interview. This result confirms the general significance of social support during the autoremission phase for both gender groups. Measured against dominant role expectations, it can be said that most of the men have successfully reintegrated into society. Women, on the other hand, seem to deviate more strongly from traditional professional and family roles. This might be due to particularly longlasting social sanctions during their former addiction. Finally, some practical consequences for the drug treatment system drawn from autoremission research are discussed as well as some drug and social policy conditions favorable to autoremission.

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Accession: 046280325

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PMID: 7939046


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