DAILY / MAY 19, 2013, VOL. 3, NO. 21   Send Feedback l View Online
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2013 APA's Annual Meeting Special Edition

AA Still the Gold Standard for Treatment of Alcoholism, Says Expert

Marc Galanter, M.D.,Participation in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), the internationally known 12-step program of recovery from alcoholism developed more than 60 years ago by Bill Wilson and Bob Smith, M.D., works on the neurocircuitry of addiction in ways that might be elucidated by cognitive and brain imaging studies.

That’s what Marc Galanter, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at New York University, said during the Oscar Pfister lecture at APA’s 2013 annual meeting. In addition to providing evidence that AA achieves success, he discussed ways to understand how participation in AA may act on the neurocircuitry of addiction, particularly with regard to what many successfully recovering alcoholics in AA call a “spiritual awakening.” But in an interview with Psychiatric News, Galanter emphasized that the religious or spiritual dimension of AA and other 12-step programs should not dissuade clinicians from referring their patients to AA. He said AA provides long-term, low-cost help for a disorder known to have a long-term relapsing and remitting course, and he urged clinicians to learn about AA firsthand by attending open meetings, which can be found in most communities. Listen to an audio interview of Galanter here.





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