Many people suffering from alcohol dependence have a history of exposure to stressful life
situations, such as childhood physical or emotional misuse. Often, there's a functional
relationship between drinking and emotional problems related to past traumatic experiences,
i.e. drinking to forget. However, alcohol treatment often does not include interventions to
support patients to cope better with past life experiences. On the other hand, most
alcoholics are poorly motivated to participate in long-term rehabilitative treatments after
detoxification. In the proposed study, the investigators will study the effects of a brief
psycho-educational group intervention during detoxification treatment on motivation to change
and the willingness to accept further treatment.
The investigators will use a group comparison design (intervention versus "TAS" control
group). In month 1, patients take part in Treatment as Usual (TAS), including a unspecific
information group. In month 2, the information group is replaced by the psychoeducational
group (intervention). Ward staff selects patients for the groups, irrespective of
intervention or TAS. Selection criteria are: absence of severe withdrawal and cognitive
impairment. Absence of severe co-morbid psychiatric disorder (e.g. schizophrenia or suicidal
crisis). The group sessions will take place in groups of up to 15 patients and will include 4
structured sessions (45 min each). Main content if the intervention group is to highlight and
discuss the association between stress, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and drinking. Patients
will also be informed about the different treatment options available in the region.
At entry, patients are asked to fill in the German versions of the University of Rhode Island
Change Assessment (URICA; McConnaughy, Prochaska, & Velicer, 1983; German: Heidenreich, Hoyer
& Fecht; 2001) and the Trauma History Questionnaire (THQ; Green, 1996; German: Maercker,
2002). At discharge, patients are asked to fill in the URICA.
The investigators expect that specific information on the association between stress and
drinking will increase the patients' motivation to participate in further treatment.