Moderation in all things may be the key to success in life, but when it comes to drinking, the maxim doesn’t hold true as most drinkers tend to forget it conveniently. People who want to quit drinking are more successful when they give it up in totality, compared to people who continue with moderate drinking and try to have the best of both worlds. However, one needs to understand that it is impossible to have cake and eat it too.
A recent study by the University of Gothenburg, Sweden claims that those seeking treatment for alcohol dependence and planning to quit drinking entirely are more likely to achieve this goal if they are treated by a caregiver who advocates total abstinence. And despite being treated by caregivers who are for controlled consumption, people aiming for a moderation in their drinking aren’t very successful.
Swedish caregivers have opposing views on the treatment of alcohol problems. One faction is of the view that people with an alcohol problem can learn to control their drinking, while the other faction thinks that there should be total abstinence.
Previous studies have shown that the success of treatment depends on the crucial factor of a unanimous view of caregivers and patients, rather than the treatment method which plays the second fiddle. There were no clear views on the influence of the choice of the treatment method on the final outcome. No earlier studies had attempted to look at this angle in the treatment for alcoholism.
Total abstinence better than imbibing moderate drinking
When the researchers studied up to 201 adult patients 2.5 years after treatment onset, they found that a shared view between patients and caregiver was responsible for the treatment outcome. They said that people who opted for total abstinence had greater success in quitting alcohol. “Instead, patients whose goal was total abstinence were more successful than those who had chosen to control their drinking,” said associate professor Kristina Berglund, who studies dependence at the Department of Psychology.
They found that almost 90 percent patients who were still sober at the follow-up were the ones who were in agreement with their care provider on total abstinence. On the other hand, only 50 percent patients managed to control their drinking when their care providers stressed on controlled consumption treatment.
“It is easy to believe that the patient and care provider having a common goal is the most important factor in achieving good treatment outcomes, but it is not that simple. Our study shows that, regardless of agreement on goals and methods, in the end, it is more difficult to stick to controlled drinking than to give it up entirely,” Berglund added.
It was evident that there is no middle path in quitting alcohol. One has to go for complete abstinence rather than hovering and bordering around moderate or controlled drinking.
Freedom from alcoholism is possible
Though chronic alcoholism could be fatal and calls for prompt attention, it is not the end of the road. Seeking help at the right juncture can make turnaround a possibility for patients. Receiving treatment in a reputable rehab center is the best solution to address alcoholism. To gain sobriety, one needs to start the treatment at the earliest.
Subscribe to the newsletter news
We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe