Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Desire to stop drinking could be more important than therapy

14.07.2005


The positive outcomes of therapy for alcoholism may have less to do with the therapy itself and more to do with participants’ determination to quit. These are the findings of a study published today in the international Open Access journal, BMC Public Health, which provides a new analysis of previous data from Project MATCH, a clinical trial of three common forms of therapy used for the treatment of alcoholism. This analysis shows that the participants in the trial who attended all sessions did scarcely better than those who received no treatment. This contradicts previous analyses, which concluded that all three therapies for alcoholism were very effective.



The results highlight the importance of selection bias – the distortion of a statistical analysis by self-selection of participants. Individuals who come forward to take part in trials such as Project MATCH might be more likely to have positive outcomes.

“Alcoholics who decide to enter treatment are likely to reduce drinking. Those who decrease their drinking are more likely to remain in treatment”, explain Robert Cutler and David Fishbain from the department of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at the University of Miami, the authors of the study.


A fundamental principle underlying the treatment of alcoholism, and other addictions, is that psychosocial therapy - therapy involving both group meetings and personalised sessions with psychologists - is effective.

Cutler and Fishbain re-examined data from Project MATCH – a large trial carried out in the late 1990’s, which concluded that therapy for alcoholism produced excellent outcomes, although the results were controversial and inconclusive.

Project MATCH assessed the effectiveness of three different therapies: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) and Twelve Step Facilitation (TSF). Cutler and Fishbain investigated the relationship between the number of therapy sessions attended and how successful project MATCH participants had been at reducing and abstaining from drinking. For all patients, drinking outcome was measured in two ways, percent days abstinent (PDA) and drinks per drinking day (DDD).

In one analysis, the participants of the study were divided into three groups: those who had attended either none, one, or all twelve of the treatment sessions. Overall, Cutler and Fishbain’s data showed that participants who attended all twelve sessions had better outcomes, but there was only a very slight improvement over participants who attended no sessions. For participants who attended the twelve treatment sessions, PDA increased by 60% almost immediately, at week one, but increased by only a further four percent during the following 11 weeks of treatment. The researchers also found that participants who dropped out before the program even began had significantly better outcomes at the end of the program than those who dropped out after one session. In the long-term, the number of treatment sessions attended had a poor correlation with the outcome.

From the data, the authors conclude that “current psychosocial treatments for alcoholism are not particularly effective”, and that “most of the improvement which is interpreted as treatment effect is not due to treatment”. The authors attribute their findings to the importance of ‘self-selection’; i.e., that patients who reduce their alcohol consumption are more likely to enter or remain in treatment, and those who are drinking are more likely to drop out of treatment. According to the authors if these patient characteristics are more important than attendance at therapy, then this “would have a profound influence on alcoholism treatment because it would shift focus away from treatment components and toward patient characteristics”.

Juliette Savin | alfa
Further information:
http://www.biomedcentral.com

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht The genes are not to blame
20.07.2018 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Targeting headaches and tumors with nano-submarines
20.07.2018 | Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Computer model predicts how fracturing metallic glass releases energy at the atomic level

20.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Relax, just break it

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>