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Does Alcoholism Treatment Work?

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Updated April 22, 2014

Question: Does Alcoholism Treatment Work?
Answer: Alcoholism treatment is effective in many cases. Studies show that a minority of alcoholics remain sober one year after treatment, while others have periods of sobriety alternating with relapses. Still others are unable to stop drinking for any length of time.

Treatment outcomes for alcoholism compare favorably with outcomes for many other chronic medical conditions. The longer one abstains from alcohol, the more likely one is to remain sober. (See also Alcohol Alert No. 17 Treatment Outcome Research.)

It is important to remember that many people relapse once or several times before achieving long-term sobriety. Relapses are common and do not mean that a person has failed or cannot eventually recover from alcoholism. If a relapse occurs, it is important to try to stop drinking again and to get whatever help is needed to abstain from alcohol. (See Question 12.) Ongoing support from family members and others can be important in recovery.

Back to: Alcoholism FAQ

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