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The Place of Additional Individual Psychotherapy in the Treatment of Alcoholism: A Randomized Controlled Study in Nonresponders to Anticraving Medication—Results of the PREDICT Study

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Abstract

Background

Goal of the presented study is to evaluate whether alcohol-dependent patients given additional individual psychotherapy after a heavy relapse during pharmacotherapy remain abstinent for longer than those who continue with pharmacotherapy alone.

Methods

In a randomized, multicenter study, 109 alcohol-dependent patients who had suffered a heavy relapse either while receiving anticraving medication or placebo were randomized into 2 groups. One group received medication, medical management, and additional individual, disorder-specific, cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy, while the control group received medication and medical management only. Main outcome was defined as days until first heavy relapse.

Results

Fifty-four patients were randomized to the psychotherapy group, 55 to the control group. Intention-to-treat and completer analyses found no differences between groups, whereas as-treated analyses (patients who actually received psychotherapy compared with those who did not) found a significant effect of psychotherapy.

Conclusions

Our data indicate that patients that are willing to attend psychotherapy benefit from receiving psychotherapy in addition to pharmacotherapy. We suggest that it may be beneficial to consider patients' preferences concerning psychotherapy at an earlier stage during treatment.

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