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People with higher religiousity and lower psychopathology do better in AA

Old 02-17-2009, 10:41 PM
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People with higher religiousity and lower psychopathology do better in AA

I've read this before, but tonight came across this, which is very interesting and supports what I've read. The gist is, AA may work just fine for people whose primary Dx is alcohol dependence, but does not do nearly as well for people who are dual diagnosed. Makes sense...oh, and I should add, AA has not been effective in addressing these other issues, due to the nature of the 70 year old methodology employed.

http://casaa.unm.edu/posters/Religio...Attendance.pdf
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Old 02-17-2009, 10:55 PM
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My son is Dual diagnosed- he has been in recovery for one yr. Treating his bipolar only became possible after he got several mos. of sobriety through a 12 step program.

If he stays sober he has a chance to follow what he needs to do for mental health
If he treats his mental health he has a better chance to stay sober.
His plan is to stay sober through working the AA program and maintaining a sponsor,
as well as continuing his therapy and medications.
By the way he was not a believer or raised in religion and struggled with the Higher Power concept. But he has become willing to explore spirituality.

There probably isn't as broad a generality as you stated.
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Old 02-17-2009, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Spiritual Seeker View Post
My son is Dual diagnosed- he has been in recovery for one yr. Treating his bipolar only became possible after he got several mos. of sobriety through a 12 step program.

If he stays sober he has a chance to follow what he needs to do for mental health
If he treats his mental health he has a better chance to stay sober.
His plan is to stay sober through working the AA program and maintaining a sponsor,
as well as continuing his therapy and medications.
By the way he was not a believer or raised in religion and struggled with the Higher Power concept. But he has become willing to explore spirituality.

There probably isn't as broad a generality as you stated.
Dual diagnosis requires treating two things at the same time. I have BP disorder and my first AA meeting was 32 years ago. I speak from experience. For people who do not subscribe to a higher power belief, this is very difficult. BTW, each AA meeting I go to closes with the Lord's Prayer, clearly religious and Christian in nature.
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Old 02-17-2009, 11:21 PM
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I think I've read it before too, and it's a good study. I'll look at it again tomorrow when my brain is recharged.
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Old 02-17-2009, 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by doorknob View Post
I think I've read it before too, and it's a good study. I'll look at it again tomorrow when my brain is recharged.
Great, I think I'd like to see more commentary on the actual study I linked in this thread. Granted, it was one, but the sizing sample was statistically significant and the implications are also very important.
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Old 02-18-2009, 01:46 AM
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I did read an NHS document (the national health service for the UK), a flow chart on how to deal and refer patients with alcohol problems that was online. It suggested the same thing, that patients with dual diagnosis generally don't do aswell in AA. As somebody with depression it certainly applied to me. I fell into the trap, when I was very vulnerable, of rediagnosing my depression as alcoholism, reading the big book and relapsing. What AA describes as symptoms of a non drinking alcoholic are actually symptoms of depression and that includes ego problems.

My personal view backed up by many statistical surveys is natural healing process of alcoholism is the biggest factor in people quiting drinking and that all any programs do is chip away at the problem or act as a psycological painkiller. I know its cynical but that's the reality.
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Old 02-18-2009, 06:47 AM
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It's easier to watch Penn and Teller's "Bull5hit" show about AA.
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Old 02-18-2009, 08:12 AM
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AA is spiritual treatment, and any attempts to study its efficacy in treating alcohol-related problems should classify it into the same category as Christianity, Islam, etc,, since you cant really "study" the steps. They arent quantifiable. Unlike a "pill", or a set of instructions where if you follow A-then B happens, AA and other spiritual treatments aren't like that. I'm hoping I make sense.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with spiritual treatment, and in societies where there is a strict religious taboo towards abusing alcohol-there arent many alcoholics! So of course people with experience in religious settings do better in AA.
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Old 02-18-2009, 03:23 PM
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WOW

a lot of AA is "spiritual", but I looked at it from a psychological level and it really makes a lot of sense in those terms as well....

and then i find support there on the physical parts of alchoholism as well.

Being a non=god person in AA i have found it to contain ALOT more than JUST religious/spritual stuff....
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Old 02-18-2009, 03:34 PM
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People with mental health problems tend to have a harder time with sobriety, so that may not be specific to 12-Step participation. However, I think it's a no-brainer that people with religious/spiritual beliefs will be more successful with AA/NA, since, like a good luck charm or sugar pill, it's not gonna work if you don't believe it's going to.
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Old 02-18-2009, 03:59 PM
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I'm on anti-depressants and going to AA, i've heard that some time again, maybe in the time you went that there would be a recommendation that no mind altering substance should be used whilst working the steps. I think you will find it is more relaxed now so i have been told by my work colleague who has been going for 4 years. I'm only on the antis for 2 more months so am not trying to compare myself to someone who is on long term medication.
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Old 02-18-2009, 04:23 PM
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Old 02-18-2009, 04:26 PM
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I don't use AA as a placebo....i question alot of what has been stated here as fact.

Wrote a lot more but then again .....maybe i should just keep my mouth shut
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Old 02-18-2009, 04:30 PM
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Ananda I read your original post (Im quick you know) and since you decided to delete it I wont comment on what you wrote.

BUT I will say there was nothing in there that you should have worried about saying, you have every right to post what is on your mind, are you ok
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Old 02-18-2009, 04:31 PM
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ananda...I happened to read your post and you had some pretty good points.
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Old 02-18-2009, 04:36 PM
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What I mean by "placebo", is that it is the belief that something is going to help you that gives you the strength to face difficulty, rather than some outside entity. If you don't believe in the intervention of an outside entity, then it doesn't apply to you.

And the study is a correlation, not an experiment, so you can only draw inferences, and it doesn't apply to every individual.
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Old 02-18-2009, 04:52 PM
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Some of the terms, like "God conciousness" werent really explained.

Its extremely difficult to study the efficacy of AA because at its core 12 step programs are at odds with the current medical understanding of alcohol-related problems. For example, the word "alcoholism" is specific to AA-a condition brought on by a spiritual disease that left untreated will progress to death.

No matter how many AA concepts are accepted in the field of psychology, and no matter how many people get well after finding an AA meeting, you can't compare medical treatments which prove (or claim) to reduce drinking and a spiritual awakening which may *never* come. Yes, you can see how many stopped or reduced their drinking with AA, but I'd venture to say anyone who really tries with support will find some success-no matter which method they choose. A good study would have to compare people who try really hard at 2 more programs to see if AA is effective.

I'm NOT saying that AA isnt effective. Tons of people have gotten sober after finding it. If you're reading this and have never tried it, decide for yourself.
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Old 02-18-2009, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by doorknob View Post
People with mental health problems tend to have a harder time with sobriety, so that may not be specific to 12-Step participation. However, I think it's a no-brainer that people with religious/spiritual beliefs will be more successful with AA/NA, since, like a good luck charm or sugar pill, it's not gonna work if you don't believe it's going to.
Yes, people with MH issues do have a harder time. It's tough to treat two things at once and psychiatry is so hit and miss (which meds/combo of meds) is going to work, not to mention the fact how much time can be spent trying to find this out, and then the task becomes enduring sobriety long enough so that meds can kick in and avoiding picking up before that point, which can be hard. And of course, if one is predisposed to religious beliefs AA will be up their alley, as you point out.
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Old 02-19-2009, 07:28 AM
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Sorry guys...had a defensive reacation (sheepishly looks down at the floor).

Happens sometimes when i am under stress......cant really post right now cause i'm at work but i am learning from thsi post
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Old 02-19-2009, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Eroica View Post
Some of the terms, like "God conciousness" werent really explained.

Its extremely difficult to study the efficacy of AA because at its core 12 step programs are at odds with the current medical understanding of alcohol-related problems. For example, the word "alcoholism" is specific to AA-a condition brought on by a spiritual disease that left untreated will progress to death.
No matter how many AA concepts are accepted in the field of psychology, and no matter how many people get well after finding an AA meeting, you can't compare medical treatments which prove (or claim) to reduce drinking and a spiritual awakening which may *never* come. Yes, you can see how many stopped or reduced their drinking with AA, but I'd venture to say anyone who really tries with support will find some success-no matter which method they choose. A good study would have to compare people who try really hard at 2 more programs to see if AA is effective.

I'm NOT saying that AA isnt effective. Tons of people have gotten sober after finding it. If you're reading this and have never tried it, decide for yourself.
Thank you for mentioning what I bolded and the rest. I don't like the word alcoholism. I can live with the word alcohol-dependent, as it's currently defined in the DSM-IV. This is yet another issue I have with AA - the label. It would be akin to quitting smoking (yet another addiction) and continuing to define oneself as a smoker. Makes no sense. Another point of contention I have (and I feel comfortable saying this in the secular forum) is that I really have an issue with the notion that this is a disease. Smoking is a real addiction, yet no one ever says I have the disease of smoking. No, both drinking in excess and smoking can lead to disease, but both are addictions to me. I guess semantics matter to me.
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