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For alcoholics, new help in abstaining -- without thinking about it
Date:3/1/2011

ontrol groups either received "sham" training or none at all. Four 15-minute sessions were conducted on four consecutive days.

When retested a week later, the CBM participants' "approach bias for alcohol had changed to an avoidance bias, on a variety of tests," said Wiers. The control groups showed no such changes.

Then the patients began abstinence-based cognitive behavior therapy, a structured method that helps people identify and challenge the thinking patterns that perpetuate their self-destructive behaviors. Treatment lasted about three months. A year later, the researchers assessed the patients' success in staying sober.

As is typical, many patients had relapsedbut only 46 percent of the CBM trained group, compared with 59 percent of the others. Although the researchers cannot be absolutely sure that CBM made the difference, joystick and word tests left them "strongly confident," said Wiers, that "adding this intervention to regular treatment helps people stay abstinent."

One still-abstinent patient told a story illustrating this point. At a party, looking for a Coke, the man opened the refrigerator, but found it full of beer. "Immediately, he made the push movement"he closed the door. "In the heat of the moment, when temptations is high, you have to take that immediate first step in the right direction or it becomes very difficult," commented Wiers. "CBM helps people take this step, before they have time to consciously think, 'Should I take a drink?'"


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Contact: Keri Chiodo
kchiodo@psychologicalscience.org
202-293-9300
Association for Psychological Science
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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