Goals and Reasons for Entering Inpatient Withdrawal Treatment, and Perceptions of Help Received

Publication Name

Journal of Dual Diagnosis


Objective: Abstinence has been the primary treatment goal for alcohol and other drug (AOD) users attending withdrawal treatment. However, other outcomes including harm reduction have also been identified. This observational study aimed to describe participants’ goals and reasons for seeking inpatient withdrawal treatment and compare the needs of clients with comorbid mental health problems and those without. Methods: Participants completed questionnaires at intake and discharge. Questionnaires assessed reasons for entering withdrawal treatment, goals, comorbidity, and perceived help received. Results: The sample comprised 1746 participants (69.4% male). Participants endorsed diverse reasons for entering withdrawal treatment. The most and least endorsed reasons were “stop using” (97.9%) and “legal reasons” (43.1%). Comorbidity groups varied significantly in their endorsement of reasons for mental health, physical health, harm reduction, financial, and legal. Conclusion: AOD users enter withdrawal treatment with a variety of reasons and goals including harm reduction. Variations in rates of endorsement highlight the importance of identifying individual needs dependent on mental health comorbidity.

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