The counseling approach had a non-judgmental, empathetic style. Unlike traditional treatment, in which participants are expected to embrace goals of sobriety or temperance, participants were completely in control of their own treatment goal-setting.
They were not specifically asked if they wanted to reduce their alcohol use, but were asked instead, "What would you like to see happen for yourself?" Many participants spontaneously mentioned that they did not want to drink so much. Among the participants' other treatment goals were reconnecting with their families, finding work or volunteer positions, ameliorating their health problems, and improving personal hygiene.
The counselors also went over safer drinking strategies from which participants could freely choose. These tips reduce the negative effects of alcohol consumption. One strategy is to buffer the effects of alcohol on the body (for example, by drinking nonalcoholic beverages while consuming alcohol to stay hydrated, eating before and during alcohol consumption to slow absorption into the bloodstream, taking B-complex vitamins to lessen cognitive problems). Another strategy is to change the way one drinks (such as avoiding drinking nonbeverage alcohol like hand sanitizer, drinking in a safe place to reduce the odds of being a crime victim, not mixing drinks and drugs). A third strategy is choosing not to drink during some parts of the day or to slowly taper to reduce or stop.
Study physicians also reminded participants of the warning signs of alcohol withdrawal, which can progress to delirium tremens or "D.T.s", a severe, potentially lethal form of alcohol withdrawal.
"Suddenly stopping drinking can be a serious hazard for people with severe alcohol dependence. Often their bodies literally depend on alcohol to survive," Collins said. Among people who are physically dependent, complete alcohol withdrawal should take place in a clini
|Contact: Leila Gray|
University of Washington