The relationship of typologies and length of abstinence to alcohol relapse



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Texas Tech University


It has been estimated that relapse rates for alcohol addiction is in the 50% to 90% range with about two-thirds of these relapses occurring within the first 90 days following treatment (Hunt, Barnett, S. Branch, 1971; Marlatt & Gordon, 1980).

Individuals who have alcoholic parents are more likely to abuse alcohol even when they have been adopted away in infancy (Schuckit, Goodwin, & Winokur, 1972; Goodwin, Schulsinger, & Hermansen, 1973; Cadoret & Gath, 1978; and Cadoret, Cain, & Grove, 1980). This suggests that at least in some forms of alcoholism there is considerable genetic influence. Cloninger, Bohman, & Sigvardsson (1981) postulated the existence of distinct alcohol subgroups entitled type I and type II. Type II alcoholics are characterized by (1) early onset of alcoholism before 25 years of age, (2) repeated social and legal difficulties, and (3) initial admission for treatment before 30 years of age. Type I alcoholics are characterized by (1) later onset of problem drinking, (2) No necessary social/legal difficulties, and (3)initial admission for treatment later than 30 years of age. This typology was developed from an adoption study in which genetic and environmental factors were separated.

This project compared the factors influencing individuals who relapse shortly after treatment completion with the factors influencing those individuals who relapse after an extended period of time. The aim was to attempt to discover differences in the occurrence of relapse thereby providing information which would aid in the development of treatments to deal with the causes of failure.



Alcoholics, Typology, Alcoholism