The role of mutual-help groups in extending the framework of treatment.

Citation:

Yeterian, J. D., & Kelly, J. F. (2011). The role of mutual-help groups in extending the framework of treatment. . Alcohol Research & Health , 33 (3), 350-355.

Abstract:

 

Alcohol use disorders (AUDs) are highly prevalent in the United States and often are chronic conditions that require ongoing episodes of care over many years to achieve full sustained remission. Despite substantial scientific advances in specialized care, professional resources alone have not been able to cope with the immense burden of disease attributable to alcohol. Perhaps in tacit recognition of this, peer­-run mutual-­help groups (MHGs), such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), have emerged and proliferated in the past 75 years and continue to play an important role in recovery from AUDs. This article describes the nature and prevalence of MHGs, particularly AA, and reviews evidence for their effectiveness and cost ­effectiveness and the mechanisms through which they may exert their effects. The article also provides details about how health care professionals can facilitate their alcohol-dependent patients’ participation in such groups and reviews the evidence for the benefits of doing so.