It is currently unclear how effective un-medicated, self-paced alcohol withdrawal is in reducing alcohol consumption in alcohol dependent clients. To address this question, the current study examined the reduction in alcohol consumption, assessed by breath alcohol and drink diary self-report, of 405 alcohol-dependent clients over a 10-day, un-medicated, self-paced alcohol reduction program that included group discussion of strategies for titrating between withdrawal and intoxication. It was found that attendance at treatment sessions was associated with a reduction in alcohol consumption, reflected in both breath alcohol and diary measures, and these two measures were significantly correlated. Overall, 35% of clients achieved a zero breath alcohol reading by their final session, although this percentage increased to 56% of clients who attended all 10 sessions. Withdrawal seizures occurred in only 0.5% of clients despite 17.2% having a history of seizures in other settings. It is concluded that the alcohol reduction protocol outlined here provides an effective and safe method for reducing alcohol consumption in severely alcohol dependent clients, and that methods for augmenting attendance, such as contingency management, should enhance the effectiveness of this treatment. © 2011 Craig et al.
Craig, M., Pennacchia, A., Wright, N. R., Chase, H. W., & Hogarth, L. (2011). Evaluation of Un-Medicated, Self-Paced alcohol withdrawal. PLoS ONE, 6(7). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0022994