Over the Influence: The Harm Reduction Guide for Managing Drugs and Alcohol

Overview

Twelve-step programs that insist on abstinence are beneficial to many--but what about the millions of Americans who try to quit and fail, just want to cut down, or wish to work toward sobriety gradually? This groundbreaking book presents the Harm Reduction approach, a powerful alternative to traditional treatment that helps users set and meet their own goals for gaining control over drinking and drugs. The expert, empathic authors guide readers to figure out which aspects of their own habits may be harmful, what ...
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Overview

Twelve-step programs that insist on abstinence are beneficial to many--but what about the millions of Americans who try to quit and fail, just want to cut down, or wish to work toward sobriety gradually? This groundbreaking book presents the Harm Reduction approach, a powerful alternative to traditional treatment that helps users set and meet their own goals for gaining control over drinking and drugs. The expert, empathic authors guide readers to figure out which aspects of their own habits may be harmful, what they would like to change, and how to put their intentions into action while also dealing with problems that stand in the way, such as depression, stress, and relationship conflicts. Based on solid science and 40+ years of combined clinical experience, the book is packed with self-discovery tools, fact sheets, and personal accounts. It puts the reader in the driver's seat with a new and empowering roadmap for change.
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Editorial Reviews

Criminal Justic Review

"The authors sufficiently demonstrate how such a program should be administered....Both the theoretical basis for this type of treatment and the corresponding choice of techniques are sound and appropriate tor the drug-using population. Furthermore, the book is written in a very clear and understandable manner, making it easy for the reader to incorporate this approach within his or her repertoire of therapeutic responses....Case illustrations provide clear and specific therapeutic suggestions....This book makes a very important contribution to the literature....The book is practical, realistic, and systematic in its approach. The authors demonstrate a keen understanding of human nature and clearly understand the drug-abusing population....For all those treatment providers who have desired options beyond the traditional orientations of treatment, this book is highly recommended."--Criminal Justice Review

Journal of Teaching in the Addictions

"An all-around good book....Could conceivably be used as a supplemental text for a counseling strategies course. It would certainly be a useful reference book in a college or university library."--Journal of Teaching in the Addictions

Healthcare Counselling and Psychotherapy Journal

"Although written primarily for people who have a substance abuse problem, or for those affected by another''s use, the book will also be of value to professionals working in this field....As someone with a number of years of experience working as an alcohol counsellor, I would certainly have found this book helpful, as I developed my own understanding of the impact of substances on the person and ways of working with the person to promote a more healthy lifestyle, and I feel sure many of my clients would have benefited from it as well."--Healthcare Counselling and Psychotherapy Journal

Metapsychology

"This is a terrific book....I very much appreciated the respectful tone....I have read a number of self-help books, and many of them try to acheive this tone. Few manage it....the book is aimed at those who are using and those who have a relationship with someone who is using--family, friends and relatives....it would also be a valuable resource for professionals who are looking for a concise explanation of harm reduction....I found myself repeatedly nodding in agreement, grinning at new perceptions or surprised and intrigued by new information....very well written, informative, humane and kindly."--Metapsychology

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Robert Hung, MD, MPH (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This is a manual written by therapists to decrease the harm done in human relationships with legal or illegal substances. It is based on the premise that drug addiction is not a medical disease or a spiritual weakness but rather a relationship with drugs to meet various human needs.
Purpose: The purpose is to educate others about drugs, human needs, and behavior theories of change; advocate for realistic incremental changes rather than the abstinence model; and to equip drug users and/or their friends and family with references to harm reduction programs, literature, and practical assessments tools such as the drug/set/setting worksheet to evaluate substance use.
Audience: The book is geared towards a broad audience that includes occasional drug users, substance abusers in legal trouble, and the drug dependent who are rejected by 12-step programs or therapists who espouse the disease model with strict abstinence as the road to recovery.
Features: The authors introduce the harm reduction model in chapters 1-3, give an overview of neurotransmitters in chapter 4, and discuss the trans-theoretical model in chapter 5 and hierarchy of needs in chapter 6. Next, 45 pages on drug effects, mechanisms, interactions, and dangers separate the more theoretical from the more practical. Chapters 7 through 11 elaborate on ways of changing drug use, taking care of your emotional life, and seeking help. The book ends with a letter encouraging family and friends of drug users.
Assessment: The book is easy to read and strives to give drug users a more tolerant and self-efficacious way to maintain "health, dignity, and respect." Especially useful are the four case illustrations and the worksheets. Missing is a more in-depth review of the genetic contribution to drug dependency found in twin and family studies.
Library Journal
Traditional substance abuse treatments focus on eliminating the substance of abuse or dependence and then identifying and managing the underlying problems. Harm reduction therapy, however, calls for identifying and managing the underlying problem while maintaining an "acceptable" or functional level of substance use. Therapists Denning, Jeannie Little, and Adina Glickman show readers how to embark on this often laborious process of self-analysis. Using charts, one not only identifies one's drugs of choice but also what advantages and disadvantages those drugs pose physically, emotionally, and socially. Another tool is the "Stages of Change Worksheet"; tracking and recognizing progress is essential, say the authors. Not intended as a quick fix for substance abuse, dependency, or addiction, this self-help text will appeal to many who have tried and failed at traditional therapies or who feel that continued substance use is acceptable for them. Essential for all public and mental health libraries.-Melody Ballard, Washoe Cty. Lib. Syst., Reno, NV Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Book Reviews

"Presents the Harm Reduction model in a very informative and easy to read format....Positive reinforcement is provided throughout the book enhancing the reader's subjective experience of success as opposed to the frustration frequently encountered in many self-help books related to substance use. The authors demonstrate many of the core principles of cognitive therapy in their manner of relating to the reader. This book is an excellent resource for mental health professionals and the clients they treat."--Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Book Reviews
From the Publisher

"Imagine if all that counted in helping people with drug problems were science, compassion, health, and common sense.  Imagine if the bottom line were simply a matter of helping people get their lives together, one step at a time, in their own particular way.  Read this wonderful book, and what you imagine just might become real. "--Ethan Nadelmann, PhD, Executive Director, Drug Policy Alliance

"At last, a user-friendly guide to harm reduction! If you or someone you care about are seeking an alternative to abstinence-only programs, I highly recommend this book. It offers ample solace, support, information, and the skills you need to understand harm reduction and use it to make positive changes in your life. The authors are compassionate and pragmatic, and their extensive experience is reflected on every page."--G. Alan Marlatt, PhD, Addictive Behaviors Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle

"Over the Influence is not only the best-named book about recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, it is also the best written, most concise, and most emotionally real of all the books in the field. Denning, Little, and Glickman translate the controversial concepts of harm reduction into practical guidelines for people who want to improve their lives--whether or not they achieve abstinence."--Lonny Shavelson, MD, author of Hooked: Five Addicts Challenge Our Misguided Drug Rehab System

"This book will bring optimism and hope to readers with a range of addictive problems. Dr. Denning and her coauthors don't demand abstinence, nor attack the integrity of those who don't attain it. Instead, the harm reduction approach encourages people to make changes that improve their lives, no matter how long it takes or how many setbacks they encounter. A brave, caring, and radical book."--Stanton Peele, PhD, JD, author of The Truth about Addiction and Recovery

"Denning, Little and Glickman take the concept of harm reduction and apply it broadly and eloquently. This guide is sure to provide users, their families, their therapists, and their communities with tools to address the complexities that characterize drug use, misuse, addiction, and treatment. I highly recommend it to everyone who is, knows, or cares about a user of intoxicating substances."--Marsha Rosenbaum, PhD, Director, Safety First Project, Drug Policy Alliance, San Francisco

Criminal Justice Review

"The authors sufficiently demonstrate how such a program should be administered....Both the theoretical basis for this type of treatment and the corresponding choice of techniques are sound and appropriate tor the drug-using population. Furthermore, the book is written in a very clear and understandable manner, making it easy for the reader to incorporate this approach within his or her repertoire of therapeutic responses....Case illustrations provide clear and specific therapeutic suggestions....This book makes a very important contribution to the literature....The book is practical, realistic, and systematic in its approach. The authors demonstrate a keen understanding of human nature and clearly understand the drug-abusing population....For all those treatment providers who have desired options beyond the traditional orientations of treatment, this book is highly recommend."--Criminal Justice Review

3 Stars from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781572308008
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/14/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 328
  • Sales rank: 214,827
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Patt Denning, PhD, is Director of Clinical Services and Training at the Harm Reduction Therapy Center, San Francisco. Widely recognized as an expert on drug treatment and dual diagnosis, she is one of the main developers of harm reduction psychotherapy. Her publications for professionals include Practicing Harm Reduction Psychotherapy.

Jeannie Little, LCSW, Executive Director of the Harm Reduction Therapy Center, is a licensed clinical social worker and certified group psychotherapist.

Adina Glickman, LCSW, is Assistant Director for Peer and Academic Support at Stanford University. A licensed clinical social worker, teacher, and writer, she maintains an independent therapy practice in the San Francisco Bay area.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Preface: Who Needs this Book?
Introduction: What is Harm Reduction; Anyway? 1
1 Addiction: Is it all or Nothing? 13
2 So if we're not Addicts, What's the Harm? 22
3 How Much is Too Much? 40
4 So why do I Keep Using? 62
5 To Change or Not to Change 84
6 How do I Know Exactly What My Problem is? 114
What are these Drugs, Anyway? 139
7 Practicing Harm Reduction: Substance Use Management 191
8 Practicing Harm Reduction: How to Take Care of Yourself While Still Using 216
9 Finding the Right Help 234
10 Is Harm Reduction Working? 251
11 How to Talk to Family and Friends About Harm Reduction 268
A Letter to Family and Friends 279
Resources 299
Sources and Suggested Readings in Harm Reduction 311
Index 319
About the Authors 327
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