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Addiction. 2007 Jun;102(6):904-8.

Stability of subtypes of natural recovery from alcohol dependence after two years.

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



The lack of consistent findings in studies on natural recovery from alcohol dependence may reflect heterogeneous subgroups according to social support and problem severity. In a previous report, we identified the following groups: high severity of dependence, low alcohol-related problems and low social support (low problems-low support: LPLS), high severity of dependence, high alcohol-related problems and medium social support (high problems-medium support: HPMS) and high social support, late age of onset, low severity of dependence and low alcohol-related problems (low problems-high support: LPHS). However, little is known about the trajectories of these groups. The aim of the present study is to analyse the stability of these three groups report on longer-term outcomes.


A cohort of initially untreated remitters recruited through media solicitation (n = 178) was followed-up after 24 months.


Personal interviews using standardized instruments including social support together with interview data from collaterals.


Differences between the cluster groups in social support diminished over time; however, even at follow-up, LPLS revealed less social support by friends when compared to LPHS and showed significant higher rates of relapse and utilization of formal help than did HPHS and LPHS.


Data show that the interplay between psychosocial resources and substance-related problems may still account for differences in trajectories of naturally remitted individuals in a 2-year follow-up.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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