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Home > The use of psychotherapeutic interventions by primary care GPs in Ireland in the treatment of their methadone patients: a grounded theory study.

Kenny, Kevin and O'Carroll, Austin (2012) The use of psychotherapeutic interventions by primary care GPs in Ireland in the treatment of their methadone patients: a grounded theory study. Irish Journal of Medical Science , 181 , (1) , pp. 43-48. DOI: 10.1007/s11845-011-0745-x.

BACKGROUND: The methadone protocol placed responsibility on general practitioners (GPs) for the methadone treatment of stabilised drug-addicted patients. The protocol emphasised a medico-pharmacological model with minor reference to psychotherapeutic treatment.

AIM: This qualitative study investigated how primary care GPs in Ireland use psychotherapeutic interventions in the treatment of methadone patients.

METHOD: A grounded theory methodology was used.

FINDINGS: There is a wide variation in the beliefs and knowledge of methadone-prescribing GPs regarding the efficacy of psychotherapeutic interventions for patients on methadone maintenance. GPs do not formally integrate psychotherapeutic interventions into methadone patient treatment. Accessing psychotherapeutic services raises concerns for GPs in terms of availability, location and quality. Primary care GPs who offer methadone maintenance view opiate abuse as a health issue similar to other such issues within their community. They take a holistic view of their methadone patient and, without formal guidelines, develop individual approaches to the use of psychotherapeutic interventions. The absence of a framework for the use of psychotherapeutic interventions in primary care methadone treatment in Ireland militates against the development of a basis for improving practice.


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