High effectiveness of self-help programs after drug addiction therapy in Norway
BACKGROUND: The self-help groups Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are very well established.
AA and NA use a 12-step program and are found in all communities around the world.
Although many have argued that these organizations are valuable, substantial scepticism remains as to whether they are actually effective.
Few treatment facilities give clear recommendations to facilitate participation, and the use of these groups has been disputed.
METHODS: One hundred and fourteen patients, 59 with alcohol dependency and 55 with multiple drug dependency, who started in self-help groups after addiction treatment, were examined two years later using a questionnaire. Return rate was 66%. Six (5%) of the patients were dead.
RESULTS: Intention-to-treat-analysis showed that 38% still participated in self-help programs two years after treatment.
Among the regular participants, 81% had been abstinent over the previous 6 months, compared with only 26% of the non-participants.
We conclude that the probability of a positive effect is sufficient to recommend participation in self-help groups as a supplement to drug addiction treatment.