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Addict Behav. 2005 Jul;30(6):1111-24. Epub 2004 Nov 10.

A randomised trial of early warning signs relapse prevention training in the treatment of alcohol dependence.

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Addiction Service, Sedman Unit, Dorset HealthCare NHS Trust, 16-18 Tower Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH1 4LP, United Kingdom.


A pragmatic randomised trial examined the effects of Early Warning Signs Relapse Prevention Training (EWSRPT) on drinking in alcohol dependent persons with history of relapse. Participants were 124 abstinent alcohol dependent patients with a history of relapse (median five relapses) who entered the trial as they completed a 6-week day treatment programme. They were randomly allocated to receive either (1) Aftercare as Usual (AU) or (2) AU plus 15 individual sessions of EWSRPT using Gorski's protocol. Assessment carried out at entry to the trial, and 4, 8, and 12 months later, included self-report of drinking, blood tests (gamma glutamyl transferase, GGT; serum alanine aminotransferase, ALT) and measures of functioning (Alcohol Problems Questionnaire, APQ; SF36, Brief Symptom Inventory, BSI; Assessment of Warning-signs of Relapse, AWARE). Intention to treat analysis found no significant differences in continuous abstinence during the follow-up year (17% of 58 AU, 31% of 58 EWSRPT, p=0.08). The EWSRPT participants had a significantly lower probability of drinking heavily (74% of AU, 55% of EWSRPT, p=0.04), and significantly fewer days drinking (p=0.05) and heavy drinking (p=0.04). These clinically worthwhile effects for a relapse-prone group justify further research into EWSRPT.

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