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Medicina (Kaunas). 2012;48(10):544-51.

Effectiveness of self-help groups and psychotherapy: self-assessment of patients with substance use disorders.

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  • 1Riga Centre of Psychiatry and Addiction Disorders, Riga Stradins University, Tvaika 2, 1005 Riga, Latvia.



The basis of substance use disorders (SUD) is formed with regard to biopsychosocial aspects. By following the SUD biological model exclusively, the effectiveness of treatment is limited since all the formation aspects of SUD are not taken into account. By using the psychosocial model, however, the understanding and treatment of a substance use illness becomes enhanced and is more effective. A key role in this model is played by self-help groups and psychotherapy. The aim of this study was to determine the viewpoint of patients with substance use disorders in terms of the number of visits, duration of treatment, efficacy of self-help groups, and individual and group psychotherapy in different treatment methods.


The participants were approached by researchers at two drug and alcohol services in Latvia. In total, 587 patients received questionnaires developed by the authors of the study.


All the 587 questionnaires of both outpatient respondents (n=200, 34.1%) and inpatient respondents (n=387, 65.9%) were analyzed. Of all the outpatient department respondents, 41.5% (n=83) attended self-help groups, 28.5% (n=57) individual psychotherapy, and 14.5% (n=29) group psychotherapy; the inpatient department respondents were 2 to 4 times less often involved in the measures.


The outpatient respondents were more frequently employed. They attended self-help groups and psychotherapy and obtained longer remission comparing with inpatient respondents. This study has shown that patients had a greater success rate in staying in remission, maintaining outpatient care and shedding the need of inpatient care.

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