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Should an Addict Kick the Habit Voluntarily or Involuntarily?

Abstract: An addict should kick the habit voluntarily. The effect of forced treatment does not last.

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Should an Addict Kick the Habit Voluntarily or Involuntarily?

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Written by: Wendy Moelker, Psychologist in charge, tutor, Emergis center for mental health care, Goes, the Netherlands.
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 24 Jul 2008.

Should an addict kick the habit voluntarily or involuntarily?


An addict should kick the habit voluntarily. An addict will not respond well to forced treatment and often lacks motivation, increasing the risk of remission. In the Netherlands, an addict can only be treated involuntarily if he is a danger to himself or to somebody else, especially when he gets involved with the police. Besides their addiction, many addicts suffer from all kinds of diseases or psychiatric disorders. This group needs special care and a good place to stay.

Forced treatment happens while in detention, but turns out not to be an enduring solution. However, the advantage of voluntary treatment compared to involuntary treatment has never been proven. For a long time, it was believed that only voluntary treatment was useful, but in these days, involuntary treatment has got more and more attention.

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