Alcoholics Anonymous May Increase Abstinence Compared With Other Treatments

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Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) appears to be more effective than other established treatments for alcohol use disorder, a new analysis of research suggests.

Researchers analyzed 27 studies involving more than 10,000 participants. The analysis showed between 22% and 37% of AA participants remain abstinent, compared with between 15% and 25% of people receiving other treatment, The New York Times reports.

In 2006, a review of studies about AA concluded there was not enough evidence to judge its effectiveness.

Researcher Dr. John Kelly, Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Recovery Research Institute said in a news release, “Alcohol use disorder can be devastating for individuals and their families and it presents a significant, worldwide, costly public health problem. Alcoholics Anonymous is a well-known, free, mutual-help fellowship that helps people recover and improve their quality of life.”

Dr. Kelly noted that the analysis found it matters what type of 12-step intervention people receive. “Better organized and well-articulated clinical treatments have the best result,” he said.

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