Monitoring alcohol use may be enough for some.
Project Match was a large, government- funded research project conducted in the 1990s that showed equivalent benefit of AA, cognitive behavioral therapy, and motivational enhancement therapy in alcoholism. Researchers recently reported on an effort to test brief versions of the Project Match therapies for alcohol abusing patients. Ninety eight non-dependent but heavy drinkers were randomly assigned to brief coping skills, brief motivational enhancement, or waiting list conditions. All groups were given handheld computers to monitor their daily drinking before, during, and after the interventions. At followup, there were no differences between the two intervention groups, and while the waiting list group drank more throughout, they did decrease their drinking significantly (Ball SA, et al., Addict Behav 2007;32:1105-1118).
Simply asking alcohol abusing patients to keep a daily log of how often and how much they drink is likely to help them moderate their drinking, even in the absence of specific treatment.
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