This was a secondary analysis of data from a multisite clinical trial of alcohol dependent volunteers (N= 1726) who received outpatient psychosocial therapy. Analyses were confined to the primary outcome variables, percent days abstinent (PDA) and drinks per drinking day (DDD). Overall tests between treatment outcome and treatment quantity were conducted. Next, three specific groups were highlighted. One group consisted of those who dropped out immediately; the second were those who dropped out after receiving only one therapy session, and the third were those who attended 12 therapy sessions.
Overall, a median of only 3% of the drinking outcome at follow-up could be attributed to treatment. However this effect appeared to be present at week one before most of the treatment had been delivered. The zero treatment dropout group showed great improvement, achieving a mean of 72 percent days abstinent at follow-up. Effect size estimates showed that two-thirds to three-fourths of the improvement in the full treatment group was duplicated in the zero treatment group. Outcomes for the one session treatment group were worse than for the zero treatment group, suggesting a patient self selection effect. Nearly all the improvement in all groups had occurred by week one. The full treatment group had improved in PDA by 62% at week one, and the additional 11 therapy sessions added only another 4% improvement.
The results suggest that current psychosocial treatments for alcoholism are not particularly effective. Untreated alcoholics in clinical trials show significant improvement. Most of the improvement which is interpreted as treatment effect is not due to treatment. Part of the remainder appears to be due to selection effects.
My Email about this article:
Re: Are alcoholism treatments effective? The Project MATCH data
Even though I don't agree with the measurement criteria for success, the study, using the same lousy criteria on all patients studied, states two things. 1. That three different treatments, including 12 step treatment, tried on these alcoholics are equally ineffective and equal to no treatment. 2. That initial analysis of this data showing that the treatments were effective were faulty analyses, in other words, fraud.
The fact is that there never have been any studies of any alcohol treatments, or any other addiction treatment, that have ever shown anything better than chance, no treatment. I've been writing about this for 13 years and have been ignored, the public and the press blindly believing the treatment industry's fraudulent claims absent valid confirmatory studies. I've read 880 studies and reviewed them all before making my determination of them. Others, William R. Miller, et al, and Manuella Adrian, have done similarly, with similar conclusions. So, now, one more time I've been vindicated.
The reason current treatment methods don't work is that they're based on wrong theories of what causes addictions. In fact, all current treatments are based on no theory at all, just some people's stupid ideas of what should work, according to them and god. Medicine doesn't work that way and never has. Correct and effective treatment can only be derived from the correct theory of causation for whatever the treatment is meant to treat. That's the basis of modern medicine. Current addiction treatments have always been based on superstition and arrogance, not correct theory. I discuss this in my book and my major paper, http://www.nvo.com/hypoism/hypoismhypothesis/ . The recovery based on the correct theory is only fully discussed in the book.
Maybe now we can move from superstition and fraudulent pseudoscience, the hundred year history of addictions in this country, to real science. My research proposal suggests how we can do this: http://www.nvo.com/hypoism/hypoismtreatmentresearchproposal/
All I need is a rehab to cooperate with this study to see if the scientifically valid theory of addiction causation will yield an effective recovery. Print this letter so that some amenable rehab will know what I want to do, so we can begin to make a dent in all the addictions that are current epidemic and ineffectively and harmfully dealt with.