Researchers Look at the Effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous


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Researchers Look at the Effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous

Thursday, June 16th, 2022

A group of researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine analyzed a variety of studies on the effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous. Specifically, these medical professionals looked at trends in sobriety and abstinence from substance use. They compared outcomes of participants in AA programs alongside those in a traditional psychotherapy setting. Researchers overwhelmingly found that those in AA achieved positive outcomes and lasting sobriety at higher rates than their counterparts.

Treating Alcohol Use Disorders

The literature review sought to determine the best course of treatment for those with an alcohol use disorder. For years, AA has been the go-to choice for those struggling with excessive alcohol consumption. The community that this program provides has helped many people recover from substance use disorder, resulting in long-lasting sobriety. AA has drawn criticism in the past from some therapists and psychologists because it has more of a community focus as opposed to the individualized support of therapy. However, this analysis demonstrated that this program actually achieves great success rates.

The Benefits of AA

The studies included in this analysis measured levels of abstinence from substance use for those in an Alcoholics Anonymous group. According to the review, one specific study found that people who consistently participated in AA were 60% more likely to maintain sobriety when compared to those who had no treatment or other types of treatment, like therapy. As a whole, AA was found to be at least as effective in treating alcohol use disorders, if not more so, than other interventions. 

Traditional Therapy for Substance Use Disorders

Traditional therapy allows people to have individualized treatment for their alcohol use disorder. These one-on-one conversations give a client the chance to process some of the roots of their disease and develop coping skills to combat cravings. They may not be comfortable discussing more personal life issues, especially those that relate to past trauma. Individual counseling provides space for introspection that’s guided by a professional who can ask intentional questions. This isn’t something that typically happens in an AA group, which is what makes therapy unique. 

Choosing AA or Individual Therapy

The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous in the treatment of an alcohol use disorder. However, traditional therapy can work alongside attending AA meetings for even greater success. These two treatment options don’t have to be mutually exclusive, meaning you can utilize both to better manage this disease. Both traditional therapy and recovery support groups provide unique benefits, and combining the two creates a comprehensive treatment model for alcohol use disorder. Individual counseling gives you space to process past experiences in a private setting, while AA creates a community of support and people you can learn from. 

Substance Use Disorder Treatment in Florida

Alcohol use disorders and addictions can be difficult to manage, but R&A Therapeutic Partners can help. We offer individual psychotherapy where you can unpack the events and feelings that have contributed to your diagnosis. Our skilled team wants to help you find the best treatment for your specific needs, and our therapeutic consultants can discuss the various options available to you. 

We understand that the most effective treatment for substance use disorders is often a combination of services, and we encourage our clients to attend support groups such as AA or NA that encourage their sobriety. If you’re ready to take the next step in your recovery, contact us today.

At R&A Therapeutic Partners Raymond Estefania and Ana Moreno specialize in substance use and mental health disorder evaluations, treatment, intervention and therapeutic/educational consulting for clients throughout the greater South Florida area, as well as nationally and internationally. For more resources and information please visit Therapeutic-Partners.com or on Facebook.

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