Indian Journal of Health Social Work
Efficacy of Group versus Individual Relapse Prevention Therapy on Alcohol Intake and Quality of Life in Individuals with Alcohol Use Disorder
Prashant Srivastava1,Savita Chahal2
1Psychiatric Social Worker, Department of Psychiatry, Kalpana Chawla Government Medical College, Karnal, Haryana 2Assistant Professor and Head, Department of Psychiatry, Kalpana Chawla Government Medical College, Karnal, Haryana.
Correspondence: Prashant Srivastava, e-mail id: firstname.lastname@example.org
Background: Relapse prevention therapy (RPT) along with pharmacotherapy is the mainstay treatment after management of acute alcohol withdrawal syndrome in Alcohol use disorder. However, deficiency of trained mental health professionals in India is a significant problem in provision of psychosocial interventions which is consuming alcohol and hence, there is need for adoption of alternate modalities to increase efficiency of psychosocial interventions. One of the methods is providing psychosocial intervention to a number of clients at the same time. Group therapy has become popular because it is more efficient and costs less than individual treatment. We aim to compare efficiency of RPT provided to a group as compared to individual intervention. Aim and Objectives: To compare the efficacy of group based relapse prevention therapy versus individual based relapse prevention therapy on alcohol intake and Quality of Life in Alcohol use disorder. Materials and methods: 30 Persons with Alcohol use disorder attending outpatient services of Department of Psychiatry, KCGMC, Karnal and fulfilling inclusion and exclusion criteria were recruited for the study. Patients were randomized to either group based RPT or individual based RPT using systematic random sampling. The two RPT formats were identical in content, consisting weekly session for 12 weeks. Both the groups were provided routine pharmacological treatment. Primary measure outcome were abstinence and relapse rates and secondary outcome measures were treatment compliance and WHO Quality of Life (BREF) at 3 months. Results and Conclusions: Results and conclusion indicates primary measure outcome such as increased abstinence and reduced relapse rates in both the groups but it was found significantly high in group based RPT and as well as some secondary outcome measures such as treatment compliance and Quality of Life were increased in group based RPT.
Keywords: Alcohol use disorder, group relapse prevention therapy, efficacy.
The widespread abuse of Alcohol has become a human tragedy. Each year the abuse of alcohol exact an enormous toll in deaths, decline in productivity, more crime and accidents and also increased expenditure in rehabilitation. The word “alcohol” came from the Arabic “Alkuhl” meaning essence. A proposed definition of alcohol use is a “primary chronic disease with genetic, psychological and environmental factors influencing its development and its manifestation. The disease is often progressive and fatal.
The recognition of alcoholism as a disease occurred during the early 1950s by the World health Organization (WHO) Jellinek’s description of “disease concept of alcoholism” and the subtypes of alcoholism generated a lot of interest. It proved to be stimulus for systematic descriptions of alcohol related problems. The first description of “Alcohol Dependence Syndrome” in 1976 by Edwards and Gross emphasized inability to control consumption, salience of drink seeking behavior, and narrowing of drinking repertoire as the characteristics besides the phenomena of tolerance and withdrawal.
Addiction is conceptualised as a chronic relapsing brain disorder. Miller and Hester reviewed more than 500 alcoholism outcome studies and reported that more than 75% of subjects relapsed within 1 year of treatment (Miller & Hester, 1980). A study published by Hunt and colleagues demonstrated that nicotine, heroin, and alcohol produced highly similar rates of relapse over a one-year period, in the range of 80-95% (Kirshenbaum et al., 2009). A significant proportion (40–80%) of patients receiving treatment for alcohol use disorders have at least one drink, a “lapse,” within the first year of after treatment, whereas around 20% of patients return to pre-treatment levels of alcohol use (Steckler et al., 2013). Relapse prevention (RP) is a strategy for reducing the likelihood and severity of relapse following the cessation or reduction of problematic behaviours (Marlatt & Witkiewitz, 2005).The initial transgression of problem behaviour after a quit attempt is defined as a “lapse,” which could eventually lead to continued transgressions to a level that is similar to before quitting and is defined as a “relapse”. Another possible outcome of a lapse is that the client may manage to abstain and thus continue to go forward in the path of positive change, “prolapse” (Marlatt & Witkiewitz, 2005). Many researchers define relapse as a process rather than as a discrete event and thus attempt to characterize the factors contributing to relapse (Steckler et al., 2013). Relapse prevention therapy (RPT) along with pharmacotherapy is the mainstay treatment after management of acute alcohol withdrawal syndrome in Alcohol use disorder. However, deficiency of trained mental health professionals in India is a significant problem in provision of psychosocial interventions which is time consuming and hence, there is need for adoption of alternate modalities to increase efficiency of psychosocial interventions. One of the methods is providing psychosocial intervention to a number of clients at same time. Group therapy has become popular because it is more efficient and costs less than individual treatment.
Treating adult clients in groups has many advantages, as well as some risks. Any treatment modality- group therapy, individual therapy, family therapy, and medication can yield poor results if applied indiscriminately or administered by an unskilled or improperly trained therapist. The potential drawbacks of group therapy, however, are no greater than for any other form of treatment.
Some of the numerous advantages to using groups in substance abuse treatment are described below (Brown and Yalom 1977; Flores 1997; Garvin unpublished manuscript; Vannicelli 1992). Groups provide positive peer support and pressure to abstain from substances of abuse. Unlike AA, and, to some degree, substance abuse treatment program participation, group therapy, from the very beginning, elicits a commitment by all the group members to attend and to recognize that failure to attend, to be on time, and to treat group time as special disappoints the group and reduces its effectiveness. Therefore, both peer support and pressure for abstinence are strong. Groups reduce the sense of isolation that most people who have substance abuse disorders experience. At the same time, groups can enable participants to identify with others who are struggling with the same issues. Although AA and treatment groups of all types provide these opportunities for sharing, for some people the more formal and deliberate nature of participation in process group therapy increases their feelings of security and enhances their ability to share openly. Groups enable people who abuse substances to witness the recovery of others. From this inspiration, people who are addicted to substances gain hope that they, too, can maintain abstinence. Furthermore, an interpersonal process group, which is of long duration, allows a magnified witnessing of both the changes related to recovery as well as group members’ intra and interpersonal changes.
Groups help members learn to cope with their substance abuse and other problems by allowing them to see how others deal with similar problems. Groups can accentuate this process and extend it to include changes in how group members relate to bosses, parents, spouses, siblings, children, and people in general. Groups can provide useful information to clients who are new to recovery. For example, clients can learn how to avoid certain triggers for use, the importance of abstinence as a priority, and how to self identify as a person recovering from substance abuse. Group experiences can help deepen these insights. For example, self identifying as a person recovering from substance abuse can be a complex process that changes significantly during different stages of treatment and recovery and often reveals the set of traits that makes the system of a person’s self as altogether unique. Groups provide feedback concerning the values and abilities of other group members. This information helps members improve their conceptions of self or modify faulty, distorted conceptions. In terms of process groups in particular, as specific themes emerge in a client’s group experience, repetitive feedback from multiple group members and the therapist can chip away at those faulty or distorted conceptions in slightly different ways until they not only are correctable, but also the very process of correction and change is revealed through the examination of the group processes. Groups offer family like experiences. Groups can provide the support and nurturance that may have been lacking in group members’ families of origin. The group also gives members the opportunity to practice healthy ways of interacting with their families.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Aims and Objectives: To compare the efficacy of group based relapse prevention therapy versus individual based relapse prevention therapy on alcohol intake and Quality of Life in Alcohol use disorder.
Sample and Sampling: Subjects who diagnosed as per the criteria for substance dependence according to International Classification of Disease, 10th revision, Diagnostic Criteria for Research (ICD- 10 DCR) and given consent to participate in the study were recruited. Subject with a family history of mental illness, mental retardation, epilepsy and physical illness and substance use or any other co-morbid psychiatric condition like – multiple substance dependence, mental illness, mental retardation, epilepsy and physical illness were excluded. A total number of 30 patients were randomized to group based RPT (15) and individual based RPT (15) from the out-patient Department of Psychiatry, Kalpana Chawla Government Medical College and Hospital, Karnal, India, using systematic random sampling. The two RPT formats were identical in content, consisting weekly session for 12 weeks. Both the groups were provided routine pharmacological treatment. Primary measure outcome were abstinence and relapse rates and secondary outcome measures were treatment compliance and WHO Quality of Life (BREF) (WHO, 1996)- The WHOQOL-BREF has been developed by the WHOQOL Group to provide a short form QOL assessment that looks at domain level profiles, using data from the WHOQOL-100. It is based on a four domain structure. Each domain covers several aspects of individual’s life. The WHOQOL-BREF contains a total of 26 items. The range of score in each item is between 1 and 5, with higher scores denoting higher QOL levels. The Cronbach’s alphas for the QOL scale and subscales as resulted in this study have ranged between .67 (for the 3 items of socialrelations) and .93 (for the 24 items total scale).
TYPES AND TECHNIQUES OF INTERVENTION
Psychoeducation: The patients and their family members offered psychoeducation to make them aware about the nature of illness, course, treatment, prognosis and to Clearfield any misconceptions. This was done so that the patients got a better position to deal with the illness as they had no hope of getting better. Directions to reduce repeated medical consultations and investigations also provided.
Supportive Psychotherapy: It was aimed at validating the distress of the patients and their family members who are undergoing treatment. The patients and their family members are given reassurance, support and his ability to cope with distress are reinforced.
Relapse Prevention Therapy: It was carried out with four sessions for 12 weeks. Each session was continued for 45-60 minutes and delivered in the individual and group setting with the aim to establish a firm therapeutic alliance with the patients, to maintain abstinence and increase relapse rates and to educate about the future compliance and treatment adherence as well as to improve overall quality of life.
First Session: In the first session psychoeducation was done with detailed discussion about alcohol dependence, the therapist provided to the patient with clear feedback of their drinking, frequency, intensity negative consequences and risk factors.
Second Session: The commitment to leave the substance was strengthened and guilt was induced and ill effects of the substance and their effects on all domains of life were discussed. In this session cost/benefit analysis was done. The idea that consequences can be negative or positive is central to allowing for an open, non-defensive examination of the role of substances in the group member’s lives.
Third Session: In this session, the craving was discussed. Such as environmental cues, stress, mental illness and withdrawal symptoms which lead to craving if clients associate use with relief of these symptoms. In this session coping skills i.e. distraction techniques, coping card, sober were also taught. In this assertiveness training skills were also discussed.
Fourth Session: Patients were reviewed. In this session, they were also educated about followup and medical adherence. During this session the patients gave feedbacks and unclarified concepts and its intervention strategies and the therapist does corrections and clarifies all concepts. After the session therapist explained to patients the importance of the regular practice of interventions guided in all sessions.