Advances in Alcoholism Treatment


More than 700,000 people receive alcoholism treatment every day. The techniques used have traditionally been based on clinical experience and intuition, with no true validation of effectiveness. Over the past two decades, modern methods of evaluating therapies have more often applied to alcoholism treatment. These methods include the use of control groups for comparison purposes, random assignment of study participants to different treatment groups and, where practically possible, followup of all patients who entered the study. This provides more reliably results on recent controlled clinical studies on the effectiveness of self-help groups, social approaches, and medication in achieving and maintaining sobriety.

Self-help groups are the most commonly sought source of help for alcohol-related problems. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), one of the most commonly known self-help groups, outlines 12 consecutive activities, or steps, that alcoholics should achieve during the recovery process. Alcoholics can become involved with this before entering professional treatment, during treatment, or afterwards as a method to help keep them sober.

There is strong evidence indicating that involvement of a sober spouse in the course of treatment can improve patient participation rates and increase the likelihood that the patient will alter drinking behavior after treatment is finished.

Many people with alcohol problems receive care from ordinary doctors or nursing staff, usually with less than five actual visits. Such treatment is known as brief intervention and consists of simple information on the negative consequences of alcohol consumption along with basic advice on strategies and community resources to help the drinker with their problems.

More recently, research on the development of medications for blocking alcohol-brain interactions has shown good results in preventing alcoholism. On the whole, however, research also demonstrates that medication is not efficient on its own, and should be combined with social treatments.

If you need more information on treatments for alcoholism, consider visiting

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