Therapy and supportive care of alcoholics: Guidelines for practitioners

TitleTherapy and supportive care of alcoholics: Guidelines for practitioners
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsKienast, T, Heinz, A
JournalDigestive Diseases
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number0257-2753 (Print)0257-2753 (Linking)
Accession Number16508295
Keywords*Practice Guidelines as Topic, Alcohol-Related Disorders/prevention & control/*therapy, Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholism/prevention & control/*therapy, Behavior Therapy/*methods, Combined Modality Therapy, Counseling, Female, Humans, Male, Patient Compliance, Prognosis, Recurrence/prevention & control, Risk Assessment, Self-Help Groups, Severity of Illness Index, Substance Abuse Treatment Centers/organization & administration, Treatment Outcome

BACKGROUND/AIMS: Alcoholism is a widespread disorder in our societies. However, only a small percentage of alcoholics appear in specific psychotherapeutic treatment programs. The vast majority are seen by general practitioners or experts of other medical specialties where they are treated intensively for their alcohol-induced comorbidities. But the reason for these comorbidities, alcoholism itself, is rarely treated. This article provides a guideline for specialists and non-specialists on how to treat these patients correctly in nonspecific treatment programs and how to increase motivation to stay abstinent. Moreover, the concept can be quickly and easily integrated into the daily routine of any therapeutic team. METHODS: Literature on the therapeutic methods of brief interventions, motivational interviewing as well as pharmacological relapse prevention was reviewed in PubMed for the years 1991-2005. RESULTS/CONCLUSION: The burden of disease of alcoholism and alcohol abuse as primary disorders is highly evident but often underestimated even by therapists of various medical disciplines. Systematic studies of the brief intervention method, motivational interviewing and also pharmacological treatment with acamprosate have shown that these are potent methods that are easily used to increase the duration of abstinence and patients' motivation to take part in further specific treatment.

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