Best way to treat alcoholismAlcohol abuse is our country's...


March 10, 1992|By Universal Press Syndicate

Best way to treat alcoholism

Alcohol abuse is our country's biggest drug problem. Yet when it comes to treating alcoholism, no one really knows what works best. Some experts say that support programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) are the way to go, while others argue for enrolling patients in hospital detoxification programs. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health recently presented evidence that graduates of inpatient treatment programs are more likely to stay on the wagon. They followed 227 problem drinkers who had either been hospitalized or joined AA. Two years later, 37 percent of the hospital group was still on the wagon, compared to only 16 percent of the AA group. Even more surprising was the cost. The current thinking holds that AA programs cost less, but the researchers actually found no difference in the long run. Why? Because during the two-year follow-up period, 62 percent of the AA participants had to be hospitalized for alcoholism, compared with only 23 percent of those originally treated as inpatients.

Preemies get last laugh

For years, premature babies were thought to be more temperamental than regular infants. But when Australian researchers tested this theory, they found it simply isn't true. They tracked the development of 126 preterm infants (born after fewer than 37 weeks gestation) and 150 normal babies for six years. Parents were asked to rate their child's temperament from year to year. In the end, no significant differences between the two groups were recorded. When a difference was found, it was usually the full-term child who cried and fussed the most. Another medical myth bites the dust.

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