As submitted to USA Today. In response to: “New study shows how effective Alcoholics Anonymous really is”

The Cochrane Database Review reveals several critical findings and has important shortcomings as well.  The findings are only relevant to alcoholics anonymous and cannot be scientifically related to narcotics anonymous or other similar programs until a similar review is performed on those programs.  In addition, this is related to 12-step or alcoholics anonymous programs provided in the community not necessarily those provided for 30- or 60-day programs at traditional inpatient programs.  The findings therefore do underscore the importance of long-term care for patients with alcohol use disorder to achieve the highest levels of successful abstinence.  Finally, individualized care is important as opposed to a one size fits all approach.  While not directly addressed in this particular article, it stands to reason that every patient is individual and each will need a different combination of treatment modalities to attain and maintain their sobriety.

Adam Bruggeman, MD 
Board Certified, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery 
Board Certified, American Board of Preventive Medicine in Addiction Medicine 

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