From the Journals

More time in aftercare improves abstinence



Patients treated for addiction for longer than 30 days showed a significantly higher abstinence success rate of 84%, compared with 55% for patients whose treatment stopped at 30 days, a study of 72 adults shows.

The findings were not significantly different among different kinds of addictions, such as alcohol and amphetamine addiction or opioid and benzodiazepine dependency (Open J Psychiatr. Jan 2017;7:51-60).

“Recovery is an ongoing process once a client leaves treatment,” wrote Akikur R. Mohammad, MD, CEO/founder of the Inspire Malibu drug and alcohol treatment center in Southern California, and his colleagues. “Clients who adhere to their discharge plan and immerse themselves in recovery-related activities and lifestyle are likely to achieve sobriety for longer periods of time, if not indefinitely.”

To assess the efficacy of treatment and the predictors of relapse, the researchers enrolled 32 men and 40 women who were undergoing clinical treatment for various types of addiction. The average age was 30 years for the men and 30.7 years for the women.

In addition, the researchers developed models of treatment outcomes. They found a relative risk of substance abuse relapse of 18.1 for patients who failed to answer the phone at least three times during a 12-month follow-up period, compared with patients who only failed to answer the phone either zero, one, or two times.

Although the results were limited by the use of self reports, the findings support the role of aftercare follow-up in identifying addiction patients at risk for relapse, noted Dr. Mohammad of the University of California, Los Angeles, and his colleagues.

The researchers had no financial conflicts to disclose.

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