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Alcohol Alcohol. 2006 May-Jun;41(3):311-4. Epub 2006 Feb 20.

Stability of remission from alcohol dependence without formal help.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of L├╝beck, Germany.



To determine the stability of remission from alcohol dependence without formal help.


In a cohort of untreated remitters, a follow-up after 24 months was conducted. Participants were recruited through media solicitation and via a general population study. At baseline, all participants (n = 144) fulfilled criteria of remission from alcohol dependence for the previous 12 months without prior use of formal help (sustained full remission according to DSM-IV, neither inpatient nor outpatient treatment, no more than two self help group meetings). Personal interviews were conducted using standardized instruments.


In the follow-up period, four individuals died; 92.9% of the remaining participants were re-interviewed (n = 130). Of those interviewed 92.3% showed stable remission without formal help, 1.5% were currently alcohol dependent according to DSM-IV, 1.5% were classified alcohol dependent on grounds of collateral information, 1.5% fulfilled one or two criteria of dependence, and 4.6% utilized formal help.


Untreated remission is not a transient phenomenon. Therefore, studying remitters from alcohol dependence without formal help can yield valid information on pathways to recovery.

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