AA, Twelve-Step Facilitation helps more people remain sober, study finds

AA, Twelve-Step Facilitation helps more people remain sober, study finds

Researchers compared Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and clinically-related Twelve-Step Facilitation (TSF) programs and discovered 42 percent of participants remained completely abstinent after a year, compared to 35 percent of those receiving other treatments.

Researchers examined AA and TSF’s effectiveness at enhancing long-term abstinence and reducing alcohol consumption and the effects of heavy drinking as well as reducing healthcare costs.

“Alcohol use disorder can be devastating for individuals and their families and it presents a significant, worldwide, costly public health problem,” Dr. John Kelly, Harvard Medical School Elizabeth R. Spallin professor of psychiatry and Massachusetts General Hospital Recovery Research Institute director, said. “Alcoholics Anonymous is a well-known, free, mutual-help fellowship that helps people recover and improve their quality of life. One important finding from this review was that it does matter what type of TSF intervention people receive – better organized and well-articulated clinical treatments have the best result. In other words, it is important for clinical programs and clinicians to use one of the proven manualized programs to maximize the benefits from AA participation.”

AA and TSF programs engage people during and after treatment for alcohol use disorder and often follow a manual so that all participants receive the same treatment.