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Book Reviews: Newsday



Kristin Taveira

July 23, 2007

TITLE: "Helping the Addict You Love: The New Effective Program for Getting the Addict Into Treatment"

AUTHOR: Laurence M. Westreich, M.D.

PUBLISHER/PRICE: Fireside, a division of Simon & Schuster / $25

Purpose: Steps family and friends can take to persuade an addict to get professional help.

Author's credentials: Westreich is a board-certified psychiatrist who specializes in the treatment of patients dually diagnosed with addiction and mental disorders. He is the chair of Park West Associates, a group of private-practice psychiatrists who focus on the treatment of addicted individuals. He's also a "consultant on drugs of abuse" to Major League Baseball.

Excerpt: "Of course, faced with someone who's acting illogically or irrationally, your first inclination would probably be to confront him or her about it. And that's a perfectly natural reaction. Unfortunately, directly confronting addicts like that almost never works. Because they're not even consciously aware that they're using these mechanisms to avoid dealing with the problem, addicts are unlikely to believe anything you tell them."

Effectiveness: Westreich's writing has a sort of quiet relentlessness about it; almost before an argument can form in your mind, he is already addressing it. As soon as doubt creeps in, he is forcibly crowding it out with determination and hope. The message, which never wavers, is that the addict in your life needs help, and you must continually exhaust every available strategy to help him or her get it - even strategies you might be uncomfortable with. He refutes the effectiveness of common "tough love" tactics like surprise interventions, and offers respectful but persuasive alternatives with varied levels of pushiness, depending on the urgency of the situation.
Copyright © 2007 Newsday Inc.

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