The Old Gold archive

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The Old Gold archive

Appreciations and analyses of seminal studies of lasting significance from the past starting with the analyses most recently added or updated, totalling today 35 documents. Dates in orange refer to publication date of the original study or (if several) of the earliest of the studies. For other seminal studies see those listed in the cells of the alcohol and drug treatment matrices

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STUDY 1988 HTM file
Is the counselor an “active ingredient” in substance abuse rehabilitation? An examination of treatment success among four counselors

The unexpected resignations of two counsellors at a US methadone clinic in early 1985 triggered a unique study of the influence of counsellors on their patients’ recovery. Its insight remains relevant today, and the study has been added to the Effectiveness Bank as a piece of ‘old gold’.

STUDY 1966 HTM file
Treatment of skid-row alcoholics with disulfiram

In the early ’60s in Atlanta in the USA, a pioneering trial tested whether faced with the alternative of another spell in jail, ‘skid-row’ repeat drunkenness offenders would take a drug which generates deterrent reactions to alcohol. Most did, belying their supposedly hopeless condition.

STUDY 1957 HTM file
A study of three types of group psychotherapy with hospitalized male inebriates

Early US study uncovered for the Alcohol Treatment Matrix found a Rogerian client-centred therapy characterised by non-directive, empathic listening beneficially changed self-perceptions of alcohol-dependent patients and reduced relapse compared to approaches based on learning theory or psychoanalysis.

STUDY 1987 HTM file
Evaluation of a controlled drinking minimal intervention for problem drinkers in general practice (the DRAMS scheme)

Uncovered in our search for seminal studies for the Alcohol Treatment Matrix, a piece of old gold … Hampered by problems with implementation, this evaluation of an early controlled drinking brief intervention showed no advantage for patients over basic advice (or no intervention at all), prefiguring later findings from larger trials.

DOCUMENT 1961 HTM file
Persuasion and Healing: a Comparative Study of Psychotherapy

First published in 1961, Jerome D. Frank’s book Persuasion and Healing was a pioneering insight into the important components shared by effective therapies in mental health including the addictions, components now widely acknowledged as more influential than the specific theories and methods of different approaches.

STUDY 1977 HTM file
Vietnam veterans three years after Vietnam: how our study changed our view of heroin

Reprint of a 1977 presentation of one of the most influential studies of heroin addiction ever conducted, which called in to question its supposed addictive qualities, the need for prolonged treatment and abstinence to overcome addiction, and whether heroin use inevitably causes major social problems.

DOCUMENT 1962 HTM file
Should dependent drinkers always try for abstinence?

For many alcohol treatment services in the past and now, the only acceptable and feasible drinking goal for alcoholics is abstinence. That mould was decisively cracked when in 1973 researchers showed that even physically dependent drinkers could learn to drink in moderation. Controversy was fierce, reaching to the US Congress, TV networks and the courts.

STUDY 1992 HTM file
Disulfiram treatment of alcoholism

Still relevant today, from the early 1990s this UK randomised trial of disulfiram in the treatment of alcohol dependence found that, given daily supervision to make sure patients took tablets they knew would cause unpleasant effects if they drank, the effect was to significantly reduce drinking.

STUDY 1981 HTM file
Interpersonal functioning of alcoholism counselors and treatment outcome

Seminal US study which found that the therapy-related social skills of alcohol counsellors were strongly related to how many of their patients relapsed in the two years after leaving inpatient treatment.

STUDY 1980 HTM file
The attitudes of helping agents toward the alcoholic client: the influence of experience, support, training and self-esteem

Seminal English study which turned the spotlight on organisational factors in the development of a positive attitude to working with problem drinkers, in particular the availability of experience in working with these patients and the support of experienced colleagues. Without these the effects of training are less and less well sustained.

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