October 8, 202011:48 am

Research reveals that people with co-occurring disorders need specialized integrated treatment. In addition, they decreased their blood alcohol content levels by half, even on days they were drinking. Those who utilized the MM interactive site were able to reach a 40 percent rate of abstinence throughout the month.

alcohol abstinence vs moderation

Humphreys and a colleague conducted a survey of the moderation group’s members, from which they concluded that most people were not simply delaying an inevitable transition to abstinence. Andrea, a 56-year-old member of a Moderation Management group in Ontario, Canada, credits her participation with turning 3 decades of almost daily drinking into what is now a healthier relationship with alcohol. The difference for moderation is that you talk about strategies for during the drinking episode, which is not relevant to abstinence. “The difference for moderation is that you talk about strategies for during the drinking episode, which is not relevant to abstinence,” he said. He also recommends that primary care physicians keep an eye as to what patients are drinking. For beer in particular, the landscape has changed greatly in recent years.

Multivariable stepwise regressions estimating the probability of non-abstinent recovery and average quality of life. The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. Abstinence exposes voids and unmet needs in your life that you may be filling up or distracting yourself from with alcohol. Want to cut down on your drinking rather than give up drinking completely? A study conducted at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden found that the Reagans of the world are more successful in treatment than the Saras. Guess whose drinking problem was under control two years later – the limiter or the abstainer? One story in the Big Book of a 30-year-old man who would go on drinking sprees.

Does Moderation Work For Problem Drinkers?

You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. “I’ve really been working the program, reading whatever I can get my hands on,” she told Medscape Medical News. Such skills can be further honed in social support groups, which offer the structure, accountability, and behavior modeling that have clearly been shown to be effective at altering other health practices, such as smoking and overeating, Humphreys said. Patients also should be encouraged to engage in activities alcohol abstinence vs moderation that do not depend on alcohol. In 2018, the US Preventive Services Task Force , for which Krist served as a vice chair, updated their 2013 recommendations on screening for unhealthy alcohol use in adults in primary care settings, including pregnant women. “That’s a big misconception, that everybody is either an alcoholic or fine,” Humphreys said. Those visits would have been an ideal time for a clinician intervention, but experts say that many physicians fail to seize such opportunities.

  • This book greatly helped me reduce my alcohol intake and helped me to improve many areas of my life.
  • The relationship between drugs/alcohol and mental illness is much more complex than that, FYI.
  • It feels like something that might be very good to do once a year, in fact.
  • This exchange has been highly educational for me, and I will obtain the article in question and learn more about moderation as a treatment.
  • She spent some time in prison and never fully recovered from alcoholism.
  • If a person feels the need to drink,I think they should take a psychiatric drug.

Being abstinent leaves someone feeling as an outsider at most social gatherings and often brings embarassing probing questions as to why one would be abstinent. Temptation is rife, and when you put this at odds with the abstinence-binge cycle it is easy to see that the AA/12 step/abstinence approach will not only not work for.everyone, but may cause them harm. As such, I think these results are very encouraging in terms of offering another possible solution for individuals who are looking to reduce their alcohol consumption and the problems that keep creeping up along with it. Most of the information collected was self-reported by the participants, which is known to be somewhat problematic, so the researchers also contacted significant others who were used to corroborate the drinking behavior reported by the participants. The study also used a single question to measure of quality of life. This is a complex construct that may not be completely captured by a single question.

Reducing Or Quitting Drinking? An Extensive Review Of Health Benefits

After years of what she described as out-of-control, near-daily drinking, Bonnie feared the moment when its toll on her health would become clear and irreparable. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction and a co-occurring disorder, call us today. We’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can provide information on treatment programs, help with insurance and answer questions about the treatment process. I told myself if I ever miss a workout, I need to re-evaluate things. I’ve done seven marathons and two of those were since I started with moderate drinking.

The second is that once they do in fact stop, they will drink again. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at for information on support and treatment facilities in your area. With the Sinclair Method, Revia or Vivitrol must be taken one hour before drinking alcohol. When you’re looking to drink in moderation, it’s a good idea to designate a few days as no-drinking days.

alcohol abstinence vs moderation

Risky drinking practices can undoubtedly lead to AUD ― but it is far from inevitable. Indeed, evidence suggests that as many as 90% of excessive drinkers do not meet the criteria for alcohol dependence. “We have a population of people who have drinking problems that is three times as large as people who are thought of classically as alcoholic. In fact, they cause more population harm than alcoholics because they are just so numerous.” Contrary to the prevailing view, experts say, some people who engage in risky drinking practices may not need to completely abstain from alcohol. Instead, for appropriate patients, moderation strategies can be successfully implemented, even for those who’ve exhibited potentially hazardous tendencies. Harvard Health Publications, part of Harvard Medical School, published an article titled “Alcohol Abstinence vs. Moderation” that suggests that it may not be possible to give up alcohol completely to control problem drinking.

According to the vast majority of addiction studies, of the various factors leading to substance abuse, stress and trauma are right up there. And just as we each had a different drug of choice, we each took a different path out. Foss said the Moderation Management program is designed to offer different paths forward for those who may only be able to address their drinking habits with abstinence. “Our data showed that people were very good at sorting themselves into that alcohol abstinence vs moderation group,” he said. “They were overwhelmingly people who had a college degree, had a job, and did not have many dependent symptoms. In short, they were the kinds of people you would bet could succeed as becoming moderate drinkers.” Although the volume of published data on Moderation Management pales in comparison to research into an abstinence-based group such as Alcoholics Anonymous , it does suggest it is effective at reducing alcohol-related problems and consumption.

“if Moderation Were A

A content analysis of online MM meetings found the most common types of communication by members were self-disclosure, provision of information and advice, and provision of emotional support. Similar studies of depression and eating disorder support groups have found the same patterns. If you believe Alcohol dependence that harm reduction therapy may help, you may be interested in our alcohol addiction program. Dr. Stanton Peele, recognized as one of the world’s leading addiction experts, developed the Life Process Program after decades of research, writing, and treatment about and for people with addictions.

alcohol abstinence vs moderation

And then addiction naturally progressed, and I would drink or use earlier, end up blacked out and calling someone who wouldn’t answer the phone. I wouldn’t remember where I parked my car, or I’d wake up in a mental hospital on a 72-hour hold. Reduced-risk drinking as a viable treatment goal in problematic alcohol use and alcohol dependence. We do not know whether the WIR sample represents the population of individuals in recovery. However, comparisons to other samples of individuals in recovery https://ecosoberhouse.com/ (e.g., National Alcohol Survey) show no differences in demographics across samples (Subbaraman et al. in press). Furthermore, the correlates of non-abstinence we found were similar to those found in NESARC, suggesting similarities between our sample and large, nationally representative samples of individuals in recovery (Dawson et al. 2007). The WIR data do not include current dependence diagnoses, which would be useful for further understanding of those in non-abstinent recovery.

A New Year Equals A New Level Of Recovery

Members can take advantage of in-person meetings, just like AA offers, or opt for online encounters that serve the same purpose while providing more flexibility. The program’s website offers detailed guides on how much alcohol use is permissible and message boards where members can discuss their struggles and find praise for their achievements. Those who are seeking abstinence will be most likely to reach this goal through professional treatment. Past-year data from 2012 supports long-term abstinence as possible and more likely if the addict has sought treatment at some point. The data reflects 56.1 percent of individuals who had begun to engage in alcohol abuse 20 or more years prior and sought treatment at some point were abstinent, compared to 24.5 percent who were never treated being abstinent.

Of note, having more time in recovery was related to being in the abstinent group, a pattern illustrated by the pie charts above. Virtually the entire sample met diagnostic criteria for alcohol dependence, about half were female, most were above age 35, and half had a college education or greater. Web-based interventions have the potential to reach many more people in the privacy of their own homes and thus could have a widespread public health impact even if the effect size was small. While Web-based interventions will continue to emerge, it is important that they are properly evaluated and modified to best serve the populations they aim to reach. Goal selection may be an important component of VetChange’ssuccess since allowing participants to set their own goal has been associated with self-efficacy and commitment for achieving the goal in prior studies. This particular intervention recruited participants through targeted Facebook advertisements, showing how social media has the ability to reach people that may otherwise miss important health information and interventions. Any of these conditions suggests it would make sense to stop drinking.

alcohol abstinence vs moderation

The concept of moderation is not responsible for how some individuals misuse it. Of course, one would hope that physicians who see patients with alcohol problems in their practices (if they are psychiatrists, chances are 1/3-1/2 half of their clients have alcohol or other substance use issues) would keep up with the research in the field.

The moderation management protocol may serve as a feasible way for many of those individuals to seek help or at least be more inclined to. Likewise, MM acts as a gateway to abstinence later on for a large number of participants. Some people aren’t fans of the modernized method and tout moderation as nothing more than an excuse to relapse. The biggest risk involved in moderation management is staying accountable. It isn’t uncommon for those practicing the MM method to hide their excess drinking or use their participation in the program as an excuse to drink more than they should be. It often aids in staving off concerns from others in their life, too.

Abstinence Vs Moderation: Can Moderation Work

Although moderation may be a good starting point for many drinkers, it is not the best approach for everyone with a drinking problem. People with severe drinking problems generally find moderation difficult to maintain and often do better with abstinence. There are many different pathways to success, and the key lies in finding which particular pathway works best for each person.

Goodwin, Crane, & Guze found that controlled-drinking remission was four times as frequent as abstinence after eight years for untreated alcoholic felons who had “unequivocal histories of alcoholism”. Results from the 1989 Canadian National Alcohol and Drug Survey confirmed that those who resolve a drinking problem without treatment are more likely to become controlled drinkers. Only 18 percent of 500 recovered alcohol abusers in the survey achieved remission through treatment. Of those in remission through treatment, 92 percent were abstinent.

There is no guaranteed “safe” level of drinking that will cause no harm. If you do not drink at all, you eliminate the possibility of incurring any additional adverse consequences (e.g., legal problems, health risks, etc.) caused directly or indirectly by your alcohol use. Overall, approximately 25% of those who tried moderation with this program ultimately switched their goal to abstinence.

The idea is that those who try to limit their drinking and are unable to may become more open to the idea of cutting out all alcohol consumption. This realization would let them realize that they have developed a dependence and need to abstain going forward. It seems like simple common sense that one of the first steps in treatment for substance abuse is to get you to stop using the substance. alcohol abstinence vs moderation Whether it’s alcohol, illegal drugs or prescription medications, the detox process is usually an important starting point of any program. Only after an individual is no longer under the influence can the real hard work of treatment begin. This idea is so ingrained, that it’s surprising to hear of a new line of reasoning that asserts that abstinence may not be necessary to achieve recovery.

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