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Prof. Dr. N. Wodarz

Leiter des Bereichs Klinische Suchtmedizin Klinik und Poliklinik für Psychiatrie, Psychosomatik und Psychotherapie der Universität am Bezirksklinikum

Universitätsstr. 84

93042 Regensburg

Tel. 0941 941 2080

Fax. 0941 941 2081


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Manual-based, needs-oriented psychoeducation in the acute treatment of alcoholics to improve the utilisation of further help


2-3% of the German population aged over 18 years are alcohol-dependent. Contact to the help system frequently only occurs due to secondary diseases or complications, such as alcohol withdrawal syndrome, which limits the acute treatment in a multitude of ways. The actual primary disease mostly remains unconsidered. This leads to high relapse rates and consequently a high burden on resources of the health system. However, if alcoholics utilise further addiction-specific help, the likelihood of abstinence raises considerably and thus generally the quality of life of the patient and his or her family members as well as the cost efficiency of the acute treatment. Interventions that motivate alcoholics to utilise further help should therefore be a component of an acute treatment. Currently, there is no evidence base of the critical transition between acute and post-acute treatment. Due to Germany’s separation of detoxification and withdrawal treatment, which is unique worldwide, many patients are “lost” at this very interface. If a seamless referral to an addiction-specific post-acute treatment is successful, the high benefit for patients and cost carriers is irrefutable.



A simple and cost-effective intervention manual for a motivating psychoeducation during alcohol withdrawal treatment is evaluated. The primary goal is to increase the utilisation of further help following completion of an acute withdrawal treatment. The planned measures should impart knowledge and competencies regarding the primary disease of alcohol dependency in a needs-oriented manner, enable a self-responsible setting of goals for individual change and bring about an increase in the readiness to cooperate and to change (resource activation). The influence of interfering variables, such as gender effects or socioeconomic factors, will be continuously considered in terms of a possible adaptation of the intervention. For ease of implementation in clinical practice, it will be evaluated whether the group program can be integrated into existing concepts of a withdrawal treatment and how it is accepted by the physicians/addiction therapists and patients during the acute treatment.



The evaluation of the existing treatment manual, which consists of 4 components, takes place through a randomised, controlled multi-centre study. The necessary sample size comprises a total of 300 patients. The intervention group differs from the control group merely in terms of the motivating psychoeducation in the group setting. Through a structured diagnosis with standardised interviews and questionnaires, potential interfering variables of the general and disorder-specific clinical picture, the personality and the socio-economics will be measured. The progression will be examined through follow-up investigations after 3, 6 and 12 months.


Current status

So far, a total of 280 patients have been recruited in the centres. After the recruitment of 213 patients, in accordance with the study protocol, an interim evaluation was conducted, with the investigators on the ground remaining blind to the group allocation. In this partial sample, 34% of the patients were female and the average age lay at 46.6 years. 54% of the patients fulfilled all 6 diagnostic criteria for dependency according to ICD-10. The response rate of the follow-up investigations currently lies at approx. 70%. Based on the current progression, the recruitment phase should be completed by the end of 2012.


The running time of the project has been extended at no extra cost.

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