Anne Fletcher

Author: Anne Fletcher

Anne M. Fletcher is frequently sought out by the media, as well as professional and consumer groups, for her knowledge about behavior change, addiction, recovery, and weight management. For her latest book, Inside Rehab: The Surprising Truth About Addiction Treatment – And How to Get Help That Works, she visited 15 programs across the U.S. – from celebrity rehabs to facilities that treat indigent people – and also interviewed hundreds of former rehab clients, staffers, and leading experts in the field. Inside Rehab received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist as well as widespread professional and media acclaim with coverage in the New York Times, on National Public Radio’s “The Diane Rehm Show”. Her New York Times bestseller, Sober for Good: New Solutions for Drinking Problems—Advice From Those Who Have Succeeded received acclaim in an unprecedented two New York Times columns by Jane Brody. She has appeared on the "Today" Show, on the "CBS Early Show”, “The View”, “Good Morning America”, CNN, and on National Public Radio’s “Talk of the Nation”.

Fletcher is the recipient of the Research Society on Alcoholism Journalism Award, several National Health Information Awards, the Outstanding Contributions to Advancing the Understanding of Addictions Award from the American Psychological Association, and the American Dietetic Association Media Excellence Award. As a registered dietitian, she holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University and a Master of Science degree from Drexel University.

Fletcher is the author of six other books, including the award-winning national bestseller, Thin For Life: 10 Keys to Success From People Who Have Lost Weight & Kept It Off, as well Weight Loss Confidential: How Teens Lose Weight and Keep It Off – And What They Wish Parents Knew.

Fletcher’s articles on subjects ranging from osteoporosis to heart disease have appeared in Prevention, Redbook, Better Homes and Gardens, Vogue, Good Housekeeping, Readers’ Digest, Parenting, American Psychologist, The Humanist, and the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Previously, Fletcher was executive editor and chief writer of the Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter and a contributing editor for Prevention Magazine.
  • M.S., Nutrition Science. Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA; B.S. with Honors, Human Nutrition and Food. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; Registered Dietitian (R.D.), Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; Licensed Dietitian (L.D.), State of Minnesota
  • M.S., R.D., L.D.; President of Anne M. Fletcher Communications, Inc
  • Author, Viking/Penguin; author, Houghton/Harcourt
  • Addiction Treatment and Recovery, Weight Management, Lifestyle Change
The Truth About Lying: Do Dishonesty and Addiction Go Hand-in-Hand?

This has to be my least favorite “joke:” “How do you know when an addict is lying?” “It’s when his/her lips are moving.” Along similar lines, at an outpatient clinic I visited while doing research for Inside Rehab, an addiction counselor facetiously said to a roomful of clients, “The one thing we know about alcoholics […]

Not Ready to Quit? 10 Ways to Drink Less

These tips focus on ways to use less alcohol and can be helpful for anyone with an AUD using harm reduction, as well as for those who just want to cut back.

Leaving Your Lover (Part II): Weighing the Pros and Cons of Sobriety Keeps It Going

It is important to recognize that people with addictions use for reasons that are important to them, and it’s important to acknowledge their loss.

Leaving Your Lover (Part 1): Giving Up Your Drug of Choice and Moving On

As substance use disorders become more severe, people drink less to feel good and more to feel normal. In order to change, the scale has to tip so the costs or cons outweigh the benefits.

Practicing Gratitude Isn’t Just Pop Psychology – It May Help With Mental Health and Addiction

I was surprised to find a growing body of research supporting the value of practicing or expressing gratitude.

What Drug and Alcohol Treatment Should Look Like: An Interview With Dr. Robert Schwebel

Recently, a new version of Dr. Robert Schwebel’s The Seven Challenges program was introduced for adults and is being piloted in a research project.

Obesity Surgery Increases Risk of Alcohol and Opioid Problems – Even Years After Procedure

People who have RYGB gastric bypass are at increased risk of developing alcohol and chronic opioid problems post-procedure – even years after surgery.

You Don’t Need to Have a Higher Power or Be “Spiritual” to Recover From Addiction – Even in AA

The finding that spirituality does not appear to be a big player for most people who benefit from AA should be good news for the many who are turned off by the “spiritual” side of AA.

When a Loved One Struggles With Addiction: Feeling YOUR Pain

Personally, I take issue with the notion that “addiction is a family disease.” Do we say that cancer or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are family diseases?

Opioid Overdose, Benzos, and Anxiety Management Part II

This column takes an in-depth look at the “universal precautions” approach to anxiety, addiction, and benzo use.

Opioid Overdose, Benzos, and Anxiety Management (Part I)

When we’re bombarded with statistics about the “opioid epidemic,” often what gets lost in the picture is that overdoses commonly involve other drugs.

Preventing and Handling Recurrences (aka “Relapses”): What Clients Need Most From Addiction Treatment

Recurrences can be of particular concern for people who go to strict abstinence-based programs, where they’re told that any use of substances is a “relapse.”

Can Connecting With Your Future Self Help You Beat an Addiction?

One of the ways to connect to your future self and be able to delay immediate gratification is to identify a “self-defining future memory.”

One More Time: Can We PLEASE Do Away with “Relapse?”

Seldom with medical conditions do we use the term “relapse” when the symptoms come back.

Why Isn’t Endorsement of Medication-Assisted Treatment for Teens with Opioid Addiction a Bigger Deal?

Last fall, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a formal Policy Statement supporting the use of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for adolescents and young adults with opioid use disorders.

Growing Research Interest in Non 12-Step Support Groups – Slow But Sure

Funding and research interests have been largely directed toward the study of AA and its 12-steps, while the study of alternative support groups has been neglected.

My 2017 Wish List for Substance Use Disorder Treatment (Part II)

My 2017 wish list focuses on treating individuals with SUDs the same way people diagnosed with other disorders or illnesses are treated by our health system.

My 2017 Wish List for Substance Use Disorder Treatment (Part I)

Everything on this year’s wish list I could have included last year, the year before that, and before I wrote Inside Rehab.

Setting Priorities and Reframing the Holidays

One of the things that can cut down on holiday stress is using a three-list strategy to triage the “to-dos” at holiday time – or any time of the year.

How Do You Know if You Have a Drinking Problem? Look at the Problems Alcohol is Causing in Your Life

It’s often said, “If you think you have a drinking problem, you probably do.” But what does that mean?

Alternatives to Opioids for Chronic Pain: Which Ones Have Legitimacy?

Given the status quo about difficulties with opioid painkillers, how well do alternative pain approaches stand up to the scientific test?

What To Look For in an Addiction Counselor – Part II

What other qualities are important to look for in a substance use disorder counselor or therapist?

What to Look For in an Addiction Counselor  Part I

Research indicates how well clients do in treatment differs dramatically depending on the counselor to whom they’re assigned.

Alcohol, Drugs, Sleep, and Recovery Implications

Sleep problems increase the risk for developing substance use disorders, substance problems can lead to sleep difficulties and sleep abnormalities can lead to recurrent substance use.

How Well Does Harm Reduction Work Over Time?

Allowing people to determine on their own that moderate or “social” drinking isn’t in the cards for them – as opposed to dictating abstinence from the outset – is empowering and gives clients ownership of their choice.

Does Marijuana Prevent Nausea and Vomiting…or Cause It?

THC can have a paradoxical effect, acting as an antiemetic (preventing nausea) at one level but causing nausea and vomiting at higher levels when used over prolonged periods.

CRAFT for Parents of Kids With Substance Problems (Part II): Parent CRAFT in Action

“Our daughter is 23. She started using when she was 15 – drinking and smoking pot – the summer before she entered high school. A few of her friends’ parents had addictions, and she’d come to us, letting us know things she was learning about drug use. The year before, at age 14, she started cutting. She was experiencing […]

CRAFT for Parents of Kids with Substance Problems (Part I): A New Online Science-Based Program

With the CRAFT model, family members, as well as caring friends and partners, are the focus of the therapy instead of the person with the substance problem.

How To Get Labeled a “Pill Seeker” – Even When You’re Not One

If you have a history of a substance use disorder, even if you’re in recovery or if painkillers weren’t your drug of choice, you’ll likely have difficulty finding a physician to prescribe opioids.

So Your Kid Has a Drug or Alcohol Problem: Blame the Parents, Punish the Child?

How does stigma and a lack of understanding for people with substance use disorders often extend to the loved ones surrounding them?

Antidepressants and Weight – The One You Choose May Help You Lose (or Gain)

Weight gain is a common concern for those taking antidepressants – a concern substantiated by data from a new long-term study.

It’s Easier to Write About Addiction Than It is to Work in the Field

Working with people who are struggling to overcome addiction-related issues presents unique challenges.

Smart Recovery Passes Major Milestones

SMART Recovery®, a program for people with alcohol and other drug problems, recently passed two major milestones.

Stigma and Substance Use Disorders – A Long Road Before Us

While a national effort to fight substance use and mental health disorder stigmas should be lauded, the grassroots efforts are leading the charge.

Holistic Therapies for Addiction Part 1:  Do They Increase the Chances of Getting and Staying Sober?

Do holistic therapies add anything to the quality or ultimate outcomes of the rehab experience?

How Can This Still Go on in Addiction Treatment? Some Things Never Change or Seem to Change So Slowly

We tell people with substance use disorders that they have a disease, and then continue to punish them when they “fail.”

Finding a “Fix” for Meth Addiction – Can Exercise Help?

With available treatments for meth addiction proving inadequate, a new approach looked to determine whether exercise would be an effective adjunct to traditional behavioral approaches.

What Do We Really Know About Treating Prescription Opioid Addiction?

The mysteries surrounding prescription opioid addiction persist, leaving experts eager to solve them.

Choosing a Rehab Based on Outcomes

If people acted more like consumers when selecting an addiction treatment program, the outcomes would be greatly improved.

How Rehab Claims About “Success” Can Steer You the Wrong Way

Online claims of miraculous addiction treatment outcomes and near-perfect success rates can – and do – mislead consumers about the recovery process.

Families, Addiction and the Holidays – A Difficult Mix

Stressful addiction-related family issues certainly apply year-round, but they are especially difficult at holiday time.

Stephanie Covington: Pioneering a Woman’s Way to Recovery

Dr. Stephanie Covington’s own recovery from an alcohol use disorder inspired her to help other women not only stop using alcohol and drugs, but to change their lives in a much broader way.

Do Recovered Alcoholics “Come Out” or “Just Say No” in Social Situations?

Why isn’t there more guidance on how to decline alcohol, considering the many social situations in which alcohol flows freely in our society?

8 Things Every Primary Care Physician Should Know About Addiction
Find out how people are using the Internet to put IV drug use on display.

Many primary care physicians lack adequate training in substance use disorders, have archaic ideas about addiction, and lack knowledge of relatively simple interventions.

On Alcohol, Alcohol Use Disorders and Weight Gain

Alcohol abuse can lead to a 10-15 pound weight gain if you don’t compensate for the same amount of calories by eating less or being more physically active.

Homeopathic Remedies: Helpful, Harmful, or Harmless Hype?

Are there any real benefits to homeopathic medicine? Recently released data seems to indicate the answer is no.

Addiction is Not a Disease: A Neuroscientist Challenges Traditional Views Part II

According to Marc Lewis, Ph.D., addiction involves the powerful phenomenons “now appeal” and “ego fatigue,” driven by an exaggerated focus on instant gratification and an inability to control impulses.

How and Why Addiction is Not a Disease: A Neuroscientist Challenges Traditional Views

“I truly believe no treatment will work on a person with an addiction if the patient hasn’t fully given themselves over to the fact that they have a disease that does not heal itself.” Margaret F.’s words capture a core belief of the traditional type of treatment program she attended, one common in 12-step-based facilities. […]

Stereotypes, Stigma, and Stories of Resilience: Changing Perceptions of Addiction and Mental Illness

Addiction and mental illness are often presented as deviant or abnormal behaviors, prompting researchers to study the effects of that portrayal.

New Study Reveals Sharp Spike in Alcohol Use Disorders

Approximately 30% of adults in the United States have had an alcohol use disorder (AUD) at some time in their lives. Despite the high number, only a small percentage ultimately seek professional help.

How Mindfulness is Working Its Way Into My Life… and Into Addiction Treatment

I have to admit that, when it comes to practicing formal meditation, I struggle, but I’m trying. I benefit most from the mindfulness component of yoga…

Setting the AA Record Straight Part III: Not Meant as the Only Way… On Paper

“AA critics are prone to attack AA for its perceived lack of evolving thought, yet are equally quick to attack what they see as any inconsistencies over time.”

Setting the AA Record Straight Part II: Myths and Facts About the Program

A number of people expressed anger and indignation at Part 1 of this series, with some suggesting that I had “turned” into an AA supporter, but my views have not changed.

Setting the AA Record Straight: Clearing Up Misconceptions

People who know me well will be surprised to find that I’m writing in defense of Alcoholics Anonymous. Yet I can’t deny that countless people have been helped by AA.

FDA Recognizes ‘Drinking Less’ as Acceptable Outcome

The new FDA guidelines officially recognize that abstinence is not always attainable in clinical settings and that there can be significant benefits when drinking is reduced.

Are Low-Cal Sweeteners Helpful or Harmful?

For those of us who want to satisfy our sweet tooth and be mindful of health, is it safe or possibly beneficial to use sugar substitutes to sweeten foods and drinks?

Should We Say Goodbye to Addiction Treatment Graduations – or Rebrand?

Why do addiction treatment facilities hold graduation ceremonies signaling the end of a treatment stay, sending a message that treatment is completed?

Opioid Addiction: Why Don’t More Rehabs Use Suboxone?

One facility after another told me they don’t use or recommend “maintenance” use of buprenorphine – which most people know as Suboxone – aside from using it during detox.

My Wish List for Substance Use Disorder Treatment

When a program touts itself as “dual diagnosis,” consumers have a right and a need to know exactly what that means and what care clients will be getting.

What is Recovery? Here is My Personal Definition

My recovery from an alcohol use disorder was “established” in 1983. Not long ago, I decided to borrow this terminology from “The Anonymous People,” a documentary film…

Do You Practice What You Preach During Holiday Time?

My heart was going full-speed in panic mode until it occurred to me to put into practice the very skills we use with clients at a holistic outpatient clinic. As I started my breathing…

What Exactly is Recovery? It’s Up to You to Decide

Those who assert that abstinence is “the only way” often have heated debates with harm reductionists who maintain that recovery can include use of substances.

Who Really Needs to Go to Rehab? What Are Some Alternatives?

For people needing more structure than outpatient treatment alone, experts advocate staying in a quality sober living facility while attending a good outpatient program.

Do You Really Need to Go to Rehab? Residential vs. Outpatient Treatment

Despite popular thinking that rehab is the sine qua non for addiction recovery, outpatient treatment is just as helpful as residential rehab for most individuals.

Are You Really at Risk for Cross Addiction?

If you go to rehab, it’s likely that you’ll be warned about the potential for “cross addiction” to substances that are not your “drug of choice.” But, is this a real risk?

Rules of Rehab: Arbitrary or for Good Reason?

Industry experts weigh in on five common rules of rehab, from cell phones and computers, to male/female “fraternizing” and couples in treatment together.

Will Rehabs Ignore ‘Food Addiction’ Science?

Is there really sound scientific evidence that sugar or other food components are “addictive” in the way that alcohol and other drugs are? Here are highlights from the 12-expert review of the scientific literature…

It’s Time to Clean Up the Language of Addiction

In the biz, you hear a lot less language like “druggie” and “crack head” to describe clients, but there’s still too much verbiage floating around that isn’t productive.

If Not AA, Then What? Five 12-Step Group Alternatives

Studies suggest that only 25 to 35 percent of those who attend one AA meeting become active participants. Here are some alternative support groups with different philosophies.

You Can’t Make Me – But You Can Help Me Find an Alternative to AA

When treatment program staffers don’t tell clients about non-12-step support groups, how can the groups proliferate? It’s the obligation of professionals to learn about multiple means of support for their clients.

You Can’t Make Me – Or Can You? Mandated AA Attendance and the Law

She was abruptly taken to jail by police officers because she’d been informed that she wasn’t abiding by the program rules and had “failed to accept a higher power…”

Teen Addiction Treatment Programs that Measure Up

Why is it so difficult to find effective treatment for teens with substance problems? Here is a close look at three adolescent drug and alcohol treatment programs that measure up.

When Your Teen Has an Addiction: What Works?

What really works when your teen has a bona fide substance use disorder? Is it group treatment, the 12 steps, and/or sending them away for a month or more?

The Realities of Prescribing and Taking Meds for Alcohol Problems

While the JAMA report concluded the medication, acamprosate, is one of the most effective FDA-approved medications for AUD, a number of seasoned clinicians told me that they do not find it to be beneficial.

What Medications Can Help You Get Sober?

The Journal of the American Medical Association just released a “best of studies” review of FDA-approved medications, including acamprosate, naltrexone and…

You Can Motivate Your Loved One to Get Help

CRAFT teaches family members steps they can take to support a person’s sobriety, encourage alternatives to using, and enhance their own happiness.

When Your Loved One Has an Addiction: What Helps and What Doesn’t?
Counseling - In Tears

While having a relative who struggles with substance abuse can cause a great deal of hardship for families, there’s no evidence that “something is wrong” with such families.

What Is Working in Addiction Treatment: Part II

When more than 13,000 addiction treatment facilities are out there, how do you choose one that’s right for you or a loved one?

What Is Working in Addiction Treatment: Part 1

When I interviewed more than 100 people who had been to addiction rehab, asking how they chose their place of treatment, I found that many didn’t go about it very thoughtfully. So what are some things to ask of and look for in a rehab center?