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Behavioral therapies plus pharmacotherapies can add up to success

had brief contacts with a physician for 12 weeks. The results suggest that naltrexone may be a useful aftercare strategy that, in conjunction with new communication skills and strategies for coping with urges, will help patients maintain their improvements in the long term."

Patients who received the communications, cue exposure and coping skills training were significantly less likely to report a relapse day than patients who received the education/relaxation training. Furthermore, CST/CET patients also reported fewer heavy drinking days at six- and 12-month assessments.

"Alcoholics who received about five sessions of skills training as part of their two-week intensive alcohol treatment program had better treatment outcomes during the following year than did the alcoholics who received the same intensive treatment but without the skills training," noted Monti. "This means that even a few sessions of skills training added to alcohol treatment programs can result in lasting benefits."

CST is designed to help alcoholics develop more healthy social networks in order to make relapse to drinking less likely. This is necessary for primarily two reasons: alcoholics often damage their family relationships, and many of their friends also drink heavily. Alcoholics are taught communications and conversation skills that can be used to improve their close relationships, such as learning to accept criticism and resolve conflicts gracefully, and to increase their sober friendships.

CET is designed to help alcoholics practice 'bringing down' the urge to drink when they are in high-risk situations. For example, patients practice thinking about specific effects that sobriety would have for them (such as spending more time with their children), and by thinking of specific things they could do to minimize the urge to drink (such as calling a sober friend or playing basketball).

These methods are individualized for each person's needs, as a
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14-Nov-2001


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