Cure Research for Alcoholism


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Research discussion: One large-scale study sponsored by NIAAA found that each of three commonly used behavioral treatments for alcohol abuse and alcoholism—motivation enhancement therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and 12-step facilitation therapy—significantly reduced drinking in the year following treatment. This study also found that approximately one-third of the study participants who were followed up either were still abstinent or were drinking without serious problems 3 years after the study ended. Other therapies that have been evaluated and found effective in reducing alcohol problems include brief intervention for alcohol abusers (individuals who are not dependent on alcohol) and behavioral marital therapy for married alcohol-dependent individuals.1

The use of acamprosate, an anticraving medication that is widely used in Europe, is based on neuroscience research. Researchers believe that acamprosate works on different brain circuits to ease the physical discomfort that occurs when an alcoholic stops drinking. Acamprosate should be approved for use in the United States in the near future, and other medications are being studied as well.1

Thus, NIAAA has initiated a large-scale clinical trial to determine which of the currently available medications and which behavioral therapies work best together. Naltrexone and acamprosate will each be tested separately with different behavioral therapies. These medications will also be used together to determine if there is some interaction between the two that makes the combination more effective than the use of either one alone.1

Medical research for Alcoholism: medical news summaries: The following medical news items are relevant to medical research for Alcoholism:



Footnotes:
1. excerpt from Alcoholism Getting the Facts: NIAAA

Last revision: April 10, 2003

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