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Don’t give up giving up ▸

Alcohol dependence has often been perceived as a problem with a low rate of remission and a response to intervention that is ill sustained. The National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions collected data from 43 093 subjects representing a non-institutionalised adult population of the United States. The survey oversampled adults aged 18–24 years to ensure adequate numbers within this high risk population. From these data, Dawson et al identified a subset of 4422 subjects who were classified as having alcohol dependence prior to the past year, based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual version IV. Thirty six per cent of these had full recovery from dependence, including 18.2% who were abstainers and 17.7% considered low risk drinkers (daily alcohol intake <4 drinks for males and <3 drinks for females). Only 25% remained dependant, with the risk higher in those with a history of illicit drug use and personality disorders. The likelihood of abstinence was higher among females (odds ratio 1.5) and married individuals (odds ratio …

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