Compensation for Abstinence – Does it Work?

December 6, 2013

An article published in the American Psychological Association’s Monitor on Psychology examined the effects of prizes and monetary value on abstinence from a drug of choice.

The brief discusses two studies showing that those who were compensated for abstinence from drugs or alcohol were more likely to remain abstinent. Indeed, the value of the award was also a factor in the abstinence with treatment being more effective for those receiving a higher prize value.

You can read the entire brief here: http://www.apa.org/monitor/oct06/abstinence.aspx

Our Take: Rewards, whether monetary, physical or emotional have always played a key role in client decision-making. It is after all the reward receptors in the brain that cause addiction in the first place. While there may be some benefit to compensating clients for abstinence, it is not a guarantee of long term success. What happens when the program runs its course or funding dries up as it often does? Ultimately, no form of compensation can replace a well-run and effective treatment program.

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