Alcoholism: Abstinence Versus Controlled Drinking

The population of people who use MM is pretty well educated and is made up for the most part of problem drinkers rather than those meeting full-blown alcohol dependence criteria. The idea is to teach problem drinkers more responsible drinking habits so that they don’t devolve their habits into all-out alcoholism. If you have health problems related to alcohol, it may be unsafe to drink at all, period. By quitting drinking completely, your body can begin to repair the damage caused by alcohol. If you don’t consider yourself an alcoholic or don’t feel comfortable labeling yourself one, practicing moderation helps you avoid having that discussion when you’re not in the mood.

His work has been published in leading professional journals and popular publications around the globe. If you believe you or someone you love may be struggling with addiction, let us hear your story and help you determine a path to treatment. Take our free, 5-minute substance use self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with substance use. The evaluation consists of 11 yes or no questions that are intended to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of a substance use disorder.

Models of nonabstinence psychosocial treatment for SUD

Various studies discovered that in certain cultures there is a certain percentage of people with the ability to stop drinking and practice moderation management, but the probability of that being the case is in the extreme range. To begin with, we know that the best way to break a severe addiction is moderation management from using substances because this will be the most comfortable, most effective, and safe way to do so. However, one can still controlled drinking vs abstinence try the ‘week at a time’ approach of writing a book or even put that particular approach into practice by writing a book every day for a few weeks. Lastly, this being a study, it is very possible that participants were better motivated, more informed, and more likely to put in the effort required to use the program. Future work would need to assess the effectiveness of this tool in the field without such interference.

controlled drinking vs abstinence

It is simpler to just give up the substance entirely than to try to manage or regulate it. There is no matter what type of substance abuse treatment or method is used to achieve sobriety. One of the most important factors is doing the right thing; committing to moderation management. It is very important to note that this study specifically excluded people who had previously been admitted to alcohol or drug treatment as well as those who had symptoms of severe alcohol withdrawal at any point in their life (like delirium tremens and such). This means that the participants likely did not include some of the most severe alcoholic cases.

Recovery After Rehab: Moderation or Abstinence?

Controlled drinking as well as abstinence is an appropriate goal for the majority of problem drinkers who are not alcohol-dependent. In addition, while controlled drinking becomes less likely the more severe the degree of alcoholism, other factors—such as age, values, and beliefs about oneself, one’s drinking, and the possibility of controlled drinking—also play a role, sometimes the dominant role, in determining successful outcome type. Finally, reduced drinking is often the focus of a harm-reduction approach, where the likely alternative is not abstinence but continued alcoholism. Despite the reported relationship between severity and CD outcomes, many diagnosed alcoholics do control their drinking.

  • While there is evidence that a subset of individuals who use drugs engage in low-frequency, non-dependent drug use, there is insufficient research on this population to determine the proportion for whom moderation is a feasible treatment goal.
  • Finney and Moos (1991) reported a 17 percent “social or moderate drinking” rate at 6 years and a 24 percent rate at 10 years.
  • In both countries, respondents’ mean ratings corresponded to the levels that were intended when the case-history scenarios were written.
  • The realization that HIV had been spreading widely among people who injected drugs in the mid-1980s led to the first syringe services programs (SSPs) in the U.S. (Des Jarlais, 2017).

If you believe that harm reduction therapy may help, you may be interested in our alcohol addiction program. The majority of programs are web-based and rely heavily on motivating people to take responsibility for creating change in their own lives. There is a big difference between moderation and abstinence when it comes to alcohol. If you or someone you care about misuses alcohol, it is important to understand this difference and how effective each model is.