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Research Article

Service user, family and friends’ views on the meaning of a ‘good outcome’ of treatment for an addiction problem

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Abstract

Aims: The aim of this study was to investigate the views of service users (SUs), family and friends on what constitutes a good outcome for the treatment of substance misuse problems.

Methods: Six focus groups were arranged to explore and identify important elements of good outcome. Transcripts of the focus groups were analysed using thematic analysis. The content of the main theme, good outcome, was cross checked with SUs and the four authors. The main theme was analysed further into sub-themes.

Findings: Participants were 24 SUs and 12 family and friend members recruited from specialist drug and alcohol services. The participants represented a broad range of treatment journey experiences in a variety of treatment modalities. A total of 20 outcome elements were elicited and categorised into seven sub-themes: abstinence, health, activities, relationships, social circumstances, self-awareness and wellbeing of family and friends.

Conclusions: The focus of this study was on the ideal outcome rather than intermediate outcomes that might be valuable as individual treatment goals. Considerable weight was placed, by both SUs and their family and friends, on abstinence and ways of maintaining abstinence.

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