BACKGROUND: The cognitive behavioral therapy has been extensively investigated to assess relapse prevention rates in patients with alcohol dependence. In contrast, only little is known regarding the effectiveness of psychoanalytical psychotherapy in relapse prevention, although this treatment is widely used and especially so in Germany. The aim of this quasi-randomized study was to compare the effectiveness of these two group treatments' approaches under the condition of routine outpatient treatment in a non-university hospital.
METHODS: After inpatient detoxification, patients with alcohol dependence were allocated either to combined behavioral intervention (CBI) or to psychoanalytic-interactional therapy (PIT). The group treatment was carried out weekly over a period of six months. Also, the clinical care package included both individual treatment sessions (e.g. every 4-6 weeks) and abstinence supporting medication. The main outcome criteria included retention rates and frequency of alcohol relapse.
RESULTS: Some 215 patients (mean age 49.6 years [standard deviation, 10], 56.7% males, with a mean duration of alcohol dependence of 16.5 years [range: 1-50 years]) were included in the study. Overall, CBI clients showed a retention rate of 66.7%, compared to 81.8% for PIT clients (p =.008). An intention-to-treat analysis of alcohol relapses showed a significant difference between PIT and CBI groups (PIT: 33.6%; CBI: 49.5%; p =.018). There were no statistically significant differences between the 2 groups in terms of prescription rates of disulfiram, naltrexone or acamprosate.
CONCLUSIONS: Notwithstanding the study limitations, PIT seemed here to be at least as effective as CBI in terms of retention and relapse prevention rates' levels.
- Journal Article