Circles of Recovery: Self-Help Organizations for Addictions

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Self-help organizations across the world have attracted millions of individuals seeking to address addiction problems with drugs or alcohol. This book provides an integrative, international review of research that focuses on how these organizations affect individual members and whether self-help groups and formal health care systems can work together to combat substance abuse. In addition, it offers practical strategies for individual clinicians and treatment systems on how to interact with self-help organizations.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Elaine M. Scorza, MS, APRN, BC (Rush University College of Nursing)
Description: Through a thorough review of research on the efficacy of self-help groups, the author poses strategies to help both clinicians, and therefore, individuals who seek help, as well as the community as a whole.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide an integrative, international review of research on selected international self-help organizations targeting addictions. This new book is much needed for its basis in research to support the efficacy of self-help groups as a viable treatment consideration in managing addictions. Additionally, the examination of self-help organizations in several countries adds to its value of presenting a variety of contexts for an increasing diversity of clients seen in healthcare settings today.
Audience: This book's applicability spans a wide variety of disciplines and is especially useful for those who deal with addictions. Psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses, counselors, and addiction specialists can all find something here. According to the author, this book is intended for clinicians and policy makers.
Features: The author, an award-winning psychiatrist, director of program evaluation, and an associate professor of psychiatry, is well qualified. His service as an expert in consultation in a number of national settings clearly shows through in the work. The scope of the book's coverage on the topic is quite broad, starting with an introduction to self-help-based addictions groups internationally, and this limits the depth to which the author can delve. For instance, this cannot be considered a stand alone referral book. The book identifies four interrelated goals: to describe a variety of addiction-related mutual help organizations; to assess how being in a self-help group affects members; to suggest guidelines for clinical and policy interaction with self-help groups; and to include scientific exploration on controversial issues in the field.
Assessment: Overall, this is a good quality book whose focus is both a strength and a limitation. The author meets his objectives well. Although agency contact information or resources for referral are outside this book's scope, perhaps this is just a prompt for a future companion book.
From the Publisher
"[Humphreys] has effectively focused the attention of an international audience on responses to a problem of global dimension. The best service this book can render is to open the way for the adoption of the self-help philosophy as an option everywhere and to stimulate an ongoing scientific evaluation of its effectiveness." Isidore Obot & Shekhar Saxena, Bulletin of the World Health Organization

"[An] important and useful book...Read this book." Klaus Mäkelä, Nordisk Alkohol & Narkotikatidskrift

"The author is a well-known figure in the fields of evaluation research and the treatment of substance dependence. He has effectively focused the attention of an international audience on responses to a problem of global dimension." Bulletin of the World Health Organization

"A must read for all addiction professionals as well as all other mental health professionals who encounter substance abuse problems in their clients." Psychological Medicine

"I highly recommend this book." Psychiatric Services

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Product Details

Meet the Author

DOB: April 11,
1966. Professor Humphreys has published more than 100 scientific articles, has received national and international awards for his work, and has served on expert consultant panels for The Center for Mental Health Services, The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, The Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research, The Department of Veterans' Affairs, and The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. He has also served as a consultant on mental health related issues to agencies in other nations, including Spain, Canada, Ireland and post-apartheid South Africa. From March through June of 2002, he was on sabbatical at The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, where he worked on policies concerning drug treatment, prevention and education.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; 1. Definitions, scope, and origin of the health-related self-help group movement; 2. An international tour of addiction-related mutual help organizations; 3. Does self-help group participation produce positive substance abuse, psychiatric, and medical outcomes?; 4. A different perspective on change in self-help organizations: spirituality, identity, life stories, friendship networks, and politicization; 5. Government, health care organization, and clinical interactions with self-help organizations; Epilogue: Summing up, moving forward; References; Index.

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