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  • Writer's pictureYANA

Review: AA vs. Other Approaches

The New York Times recently ran an article entitled, "Alcoholics Anonymous vs. Other Approaches: The Evidence Is Now In" showing that new research indicates that a 12 Step approach works better than other common treatments and is less expensive. We agree.

For a long time, the jury was out regarding the effectiveness of a 12 Step treatment approach to Alcohol Use Disorder. The general consensus was that we didn't have enough evidence to judge.

That has changed. [An updated systematic review published Wednesday by the Cochrane Collaboration found that A.A. leads to increased rates and lengths of abstinence compared with other common treatments. On other measures, like drinks per day, it performs as well as approaches provided by individual therapists or doctors who don’t rely on A.A.’s peer connections.] According to the review's lead author, John F. Kelly, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and director of the Recovery Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital, "These results demonstrate A.A.’s effectiveness in helping people not only initiate but sustain abstinence and remission over the long-term."

Studies around the efficacy of AA or any 12 Step Program are tricky. 99% of participants self-select into the study and may represent a more "motivated" sample of AA's. Regardless, this is as close to free treatment as most can get and so it's a breath of fresh air to see that some of what we've been saying for years is starting to be vindicated by science.

This is part of the reason why we started YANA. More than 21M people in the U.S. struggle with addiction yet less than 10% receive treatment of any kind. Meanwhile, drug overdose deaths have tripled since 1990. 12 Step programs are everywhere, but we wanted them to be where you are, when you need it. This is especially important when coming back in from a relapse. It's scary. Will I see people I know? Will they judge me? Do I need to get another desire chip? Whatever the situation we want YANA to always be open, inclusive, and judgement free.


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