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Response 1: Over-Treatment and Under-Treatment of Addiction

  • ·    Respond to a colleague who chose a different example of under-treatment or over-treatment and provide an additional consequence.
  • ·      Use at least 2 references

Colleague 1:  Hayley

Addiction professionals often times help individuals who will consistently deny that they are sick and often refuse medical treatment. Marge demonstrates these characteristics. She denies that she has an issue at first and places blame on her loved ones. An example of over treatment would be when the counselor keeps asking Marge “why” she is in treatment. This could cause Marge to lash out and even shut down; clearly this has been established already (Doweiko, 2015). Marge exhibited resentment and denial initially but eventually admitted that the intervention is what made her realize she has an issue (Laureate Education, 2012). Under treatment is trying to force Marge into thinking that God or some other spiritual guide is needed in order to have a successful recovery. This is not correct. Marge needs tools to help her be successful but not everyone believes in God or has a religious background. Because Marge feels like she cannot connect to God, this creates a level of guilt and feelings of unworthiness. This can create even more guilt, Marge could start to identify with the statement if only I could stop sinning; I could stop drinking or if I could connect to God or a higher power maybe then I can start recovery. This is an example of over-treatment and shines a light on the problem and increases guilt (Mee-Lee & Gastfriend, 2015). The counselor is not being culturally competent nor are they separating their personal beliefs from their professional obligation. To mitigate the potential for over-treating or under-treating client it is important to ensure that all addiction treatment entities are capable of providing adequate and appropriate services. They should be client focused and therapeutic sound. Focusing on all the client’s issues and not just the addiction.


Doweiko, H. E., (2015). Concepts of chemical dependency. Ninth Edition. Cengage Learning.

Mee-Lee, D., & Gastfriend, D. R. (2015). Patient placement criteria. In M. Galanter, & H. D. Kleber (Eds.), The American psychiatric publishing textbook of substance abuse treatment (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

Prochaska, J. O., DiClemente, C. C., & Norcross, J. C. (1992). In search of how people change: Applications to addictive behaviors. American Psychologist, 47(9), 1102–1114


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