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May 1973

The Revolving-Door AlcoholicAn Impasse in the Treatment of the Chronic Alcoholic

Author Affiliations

New Orleans
From the Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, and the Alcoholism Treatment Service (A.T.S.), Southeast Louisiana Hospital, Mandeville, La.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1973;28(5):633-635. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1973.01750350017003

This research treatment project with the "revolving-door" alcoholic compared the efficacy of clinic treatment versus compulsory inpatient treatment with adequate medical care and job rehabilitation combined with compulsory outpatient treatment for a minimum duration of six months. Compulsory inpatient treatment followed by compulsory clinic treatment proved to offer no discernible advantage over compulsory or voluntary clinic treatment.

The vast majority of subjects in each of these groups, as well as in the voluntary group, broke contact with the clinic prior to one-year follow-up and only 13 of the original 210 subjects (about 6%) were rated as treatment successes by clinic personnel. Data for arrests and convictions similarly failed to demonstrate any convincing differences among the three treatment groups.