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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2005 Dec 12;80(3):337-47. Epub 2005 Jun 8.

Sixteen-year changes and stable remission among treated and untreated individuals with alcohol use disorders.

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  • 1Center for Health Care Evaluation (152-MPD), Department of Veterans Affairs and Stanford University, 795 Willow Road, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, CA 94025, USA. rmoos@stanford.edu



This study examined changes over a 16-year interval and predictors of stable remission among previously untreated individuals with alcohol-use disorders who did not obtain help or who entered either alcoholics anonymous (AA) or professional treatment in the first year after initially seeking help.


A sample of individuals (N = 461) who initiated help-seeking was surveyed at baseline and 1, 3, 8, and 16 years later. In addition to providing information on life history of drinking at each contact point, participants described their current alcohol-related and psychosocial functioning and life context, and coping responses.


Irrespective of whether or not individuals obtained help, their alcohol-related functioning, life context, and coping improved. However, individuals who obtained help (AA or treatment) in the first year improved more and were more likely to achieve stable remission than those who did not. Nevertheless, the factors associated with stable remission were comparable for individuals who did and those who did not obtain timely help.


Compared with individuals who do not obtain timely help, those who enter either AA or treatment relatively soon after initiating help-seeking improve more quickly and achieve higher long-term remission rates.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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