Inpatient alcoholism treatment: Who benefits?

Reviews findings from 26 controlled studies, which have consistently shown no overall advantage for residential over nonresidential settings, for longer over shorter inpatient programs, or for more intensive over less intensive interventions in treating alcohol abuse. Predictor data suggest that intensive treatment may be differentially beneficial for more severely deteriorated and less socially stable individuals. The outcome of alcoholism treatment is more likely to be influenced by the content of interventions than by the settings in which they are offered. It is recommended that 3rd-party reimbursement policy should (1) discourage the use of intensive residential models for addressing alcohol abuse when more cost-effective alternatives are available and (2) reinforce the use of research-supported treatment methods regardless of setting. It is noted that such policy priorities run directly counter to the current practices and financial interests of many for-profit providers.

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American Psychologist