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Short-Term Regime Proves Effective in Promoting Abstinence

Posted in Alcoholism Treatment

Alcoholism is an addiction that can take control of an individual’s life who may or may not know they have a problem. And, while some may find programs that can help them overcome their drinking, an alarming number of alcoholics eventually return to the bottle.

A recent study from a group of Dutch and German scientists, however, offers some hope. Featured in a recent Science Daily release, this study suggests that a short-term regime may actually help alcoholics to stay sober.

When faced with temptation, many heavy drinkers will behave impulsively. At the same time, their controlled responses (or reflective responses) are often weak. Therapies, such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy, tend to only address the reflective responses, dealing with the reasons and strategies for sobriety.

The research team featured in this study aimed to boost alcohol treatment success by developing a cognitive-bias modification (CBM), which was designed to try to turn around impulsive responses. This approach to treatment uses video-game-like approach-avoidance tasks.

In a recruitment of 214 inpatients at the Salus Clinic, one group received the CBM approach to treatment, while the control group was put into standard therapies. The same individuals were assessed a year later.

While many patients had relapsed in the following year, the number was greater among those who had received traditional therapies. Of those who were in the CBM group, only 46 percent relapsed; while 59 percent of the other group found the bottle again.

Further research is needed in this area to determine whether or not the CBM approach can help deliver long-term positive results. This study, however, offers hope.