For Alcohol Abstinence, Nothing Beats AA?>
Wellness Tip

For Alcohol Abstinence, Nothing Beats AA

by Jamie Kopf  

For achieving abstinence from alcohol, nothing beats Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). So found a review published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, in which researchers examined 27 studies comparing interventions in more than 10,500 participants.

The authors found “high-quality evidence” that AA (which is peer-led) and a related approach called Twelve Step Facilitation (in which a professional helps guide an individual into participation in AA) were more effective at helping people with alcohol-use disorder stop drinking completely than were other interventions, such as psychotherapy (cognitive behavioral therapy or motivational enhancement therapy). The AA advantage persisted up to three years, the longest period any of the studies looked at. AA also saved money compared to other treatments, based on results from four studies that looked at cost-effectiveness.

Founded in 1935, AA has several million members in 181 countries. The program is free. As of May 2020, many AA meetings around the U.S. had moved online amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.

Also see Screening for Unhealthy Alcohol Use.