Differences between abstinent and non-abstinent individuals in recovery fromalcohol use disorders PMC

controlled drinking vs abstinence

In individuals who substituted a different drug in place of alcohol, cannabis was the most often cited (81.8%). The path towards moderation management comes with its unique set of challenges which can include social pressure or dealing with underlying emotional issues that contribute towards excessive drinking habits. Individual factors like personal motivation, mental health status, and support system also play a key role in determining how well someone will fare within a programme.

Initial preference for drinking goal in the treatment of alcohol problems: II. Treatment outcomes

Future research must test the effectiveness of nonabstinence treatments for drug use and address barriers to implementation. While the burden to deliver effective treatments falls on health care providers, individual factors can impact how well someone responds to these treatments. Among the most widely studied are how motivated and confident someone is in being able to reduce or quit drinking. Given the field’s historical emphasis on abstinence-based approaches, key individual factors to treatment outcome remain more of a mystery when it comes to moderation-focused treatment, sometimes called “harm reduction”. Here we found that a number of factors distinguish non-abstainers from abstainersin recovery from AUD, including younger age and lower problem severity. Furthermore, qualityof life appeared significantly better among abstainers than non-abstainers.

The International Journal of Drug Policy

If you don’t consider yourself an alcoholic or don’t feel comfortable labeling yourself one, practicing moderation helps you avoid having that discussion when you’re not in the mood. You don’t have to attend AA meetings and introduce yourself as an alcoholic, and you don’t have to answer questions at parties or social gatherings when people notice you aren’t drinking. Abstinence means giving up alcohol completely, and it’s the foundation of traditional treatment options like AA and most inpatient rehabs. At any moment, someone’s aggravating behavior or our own bad luck can set us off on an emotional spiral that threatens to derail our entire day. Here’s how we can face our triggers with less reactivity so that we can get on with our lives.

controlled drinking vs abstinence

Abstinence or Moderation? Drinking Goals in a Web-based Intervention for Veterans

  • This approach underestimates the compulsive nature of addiction and the neurological changes that occur with prolonged alcohol abuse.
  • In this case, moderation serves as a harm reduction strategy that minimizes the negative consequences of drinking.
  • We do not know what factors relate to non-abstinent vs. abstinent recovery amongindividuals who define themselves as in recovery.
  • For people who have not been able to maintain sobriety through Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or other 12-step programs, they may wish to consider if moderation may be a more effective path for them to take.
  • After a period of moderate drinking, some people end up achieving abstinence anyway.
  • Additionally, the survey asked about current quality oflife using a 4-point scale as administered by the World Health Organization (The WHOQOL Group 1998).

Alcohol is known to have a substantial negative impact on this vulnerable age group, contributing to surges in road-related accidents, physical and sexual assaults, and physiological trauma (e.g., liver cirrhosis). It is very important to note that this study specifically excluded people controlled drinking vs abstinence who had previously been admitted to alcohol or drug treatment as well as those who had symptoms of severe alcohol withdrawal at any point in their life (like delirium tremens and such). This means that the participants likely did not include some of the most severe alcoholic cases.

controlled drinking vs abstinence

  • Moreover, although previous studies have examined treated, non-treated andgeneral population samples, none has focused on individuals who identifythemselves as “in recovery” from alcohol problems.
  • The crucial factor here isn’t necessarily which path you choose but having a supportive network around you who respects and understands your decision.
  • The dearth of data regarding individuals in long-term recovery highlights theneed to examine a sample that includes individuals with several years of recoveryexperience.
  • Furthermore, noprior study has considered length of time in recovery when comparing QOL betweenabstinent and non-abstinent individuals.

controlled drinking vs abstinence

  • Indeed, moderation appears to be a viable pathway to alcohol use disorder remission for some.
  • Individuals confident in their ability to reduce heavy drinking are most likely to respond well to a moderation-focused treatment and, as authors point out, they may be more willing to try abstaining on certain days to reach their overall moderation goal.
  • In fact, even most research institutions and well-informed providers use total abstinence as the marker for addiction treatment success.
  • Therefore, knowledge about whether and how QOL differs betweennon-abstinent vs. abstinent recovery remains limited.
  • The sample size used in the study also leaves something to be desired and I would hope that further research would examine these effects with a bigger cohort and a more variable participant group.

controlled drinking vs abstinence

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