Psychological Self-Help

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helps them make the health and mental health changes they want to
make. A group of psychologists at the University of Washington has
produced a manual for applying the Harm Reduction approach (Dimeff,
Baer, Kivlahan & Marlott, 1999). In a well controlled study of college
students, this method, using questionnaires and 45-minute interviews
every 6 months, reduced drinking and associated behavior (fighting,
DUI, missing class, unprotected sex) substantially. Recently, a couple
of studies have combined several sessions of cognitive-behavioral
treatment (aimed at controlling drinking) with a new drug, naltrexone,
which supposedly reduces the craving for alcohol. One investigator,
Raymond Anton at Medical University of South Carolina), reported the
initial results as being more abstinence, fewer drinks, and fewer
relapses (American Journal of Psychiatry, 1999, 156, 1758-1764).
Even a cable TV network in California, Recovery Network, has been
devoted to education and overcoming addictions. Things are changing
(in response to the huge anticipated drug and alcohol problems). 
Everyone seems to agree that support from an understanding
group is helpful (although Trimpey says it's not good to hang out with
former drunks). Kishline (1995) has started a self-help group for
problem-but-not-chronic drinkers; the emphasis is on moderation, not
on life-long disease and total abstinence (see her book for help in
finding a non-AA group). Several other alternatives groups, quite
different from AA, have sprung up in the last 15-20 years. They can be
found at Rational Recovery Systems (,
Women in Recovery (http://core-
(, S.M.A.R.T. Recovery
( and LifeRing Press
( has put the book, Sobriety
Handbook: The SOS Way, online. On
Controlled-drinking/drug use discussion group (just type SUBSCRIBE
CD then your name as the message). 
In the last couple of years many big alcohol and drug
abuse Web sites have blossomed, including National Institute on
Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (,
PREVLINE (, Substance Abuse and
Mental Health Services Administration (,
Food and Drug Administration (,
SoberRecovery (, Yahoo! Alcoholism
/),Web of Addictions (, Online
AA Recovery Resources (, Habit
Smart (, and Addiction Resource
Guide (
Professional psychologists (Santrock, Minnett, & Campbell, 1994)
in the early 90's considered Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
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