What works? A summary of alcohol treatment research
The following is a copy of a table from Chapter 2, "What works? A summary of alcohol treatment research" in R. K. Hester & W.R. Miller (Eds.), Handbook of alcoholism treatment approaches: Effective alternatives (3rd ed.), 2003, Allyn & Bacon. To order this book, click here. Information on what each column means is at the bottom of the page.
Treatment Modality
Rank order
Cumulative Evidence Score
Number of studies
%+
Mean Methodological Quotient Score
Mean Severity of Treatment Population
% Excellent
Brief interventions
1
390
34
74
13.29
2.47
53
Motivational enhancement
2
189
18
72
12.83
2.72
50
GABA agonist (Acamprosate)
3
116
5
100
11.60
3.80
20
Community Reinforcement
4.5
110
7
86
14.00
3.43
71
Self-change manual (Bibliotherapy)
4.5
110
17
59
12.65
2.59
53
Opiate antagonist (Naltrexone)
6
100
6
83
11.33
3.17
0
Behavioral self-control training
7
85
31
52
12.77
2.91
52
Behavior contracting
8
64
5
80
10.40
3.60
0
Social skills training
9
57
20
55
10.9
3.80
25
Marital therapy-Behavioral
10
44
9
56
12.33
3.44
44
Aversion therapy-Nausea
11
36
6
50
10.50
3.83
17
Case managment
12
33
5
80
10.50
3.75
0
Cognitive Therapy
13
21
10
40
10.00
3.70
10
Aversion Therapy, Covert Sensitization
14.5
18
8
38
10.88
3.50
0
Aversion therapy, Apneic
14.5
18
3
67
9.67
3.33
0
Family therapy
16
15
4
50
9.25
3.25
0
Acupuncture
17
14
3
67
9.67
3.67
0
Client-centered Counsling
18
5
8
50
11.13
3.38
13
Aversion therapy, Electrical
19
-1
18
44
11.06
3.78
17
Exercise
20
-3
3
33
11.00
2.00
0
Stress Management
21
-4
3
33
10.33
2.67
0
Antidipsotropic- Disulfiram
22
-6
27
44
11.07
3.69
26
Antidepressant-SSRI
23
-16
15
53
8.60
2.67
0
Problem Solving
24
-26
4
25
12.25
3.75
50
Lithium
25
-32
7
43
11.43
3.71
29
Marital therapy- Nonbehavioral
26
-33
8
38
12.25
3.63
25
Group process psychotherapy
27
-34
3
0
8.00
2.67
0
Functional analysis
28
-36
3
0
12.00
2.67
33
Relapse prevention
29
-38
22
36
11.73
3.23
31
Self-monitoring
30
-39
6
33
12.00
3.17
50
Hypnosis
31
-41
4
0
10.25
3.75
0
Psychedelic medication
32
-44
8
25
10.13
3.63
0
Antidipsotropic-calcium carbimide
33
-52
3
0
10.00
4.00
0
Attention Placebo
34
-59
3
0
12.33
3.33
33
Serotonin agonist
35
-68
3
0
11.33
2.33
0
Treatment as usual
36
-78
15
27
9.07
3.07
13
Twelve-step facilitation
37
-82
6
17
15.00
3.67
83
Alcoholics anonymous
38
-94
7
14
10.71
3.14
29
Anxiolytic medication
39
-98
15
27
8.13
3.40
0
Milieu therapy
40
-102
14
21
10.86
3.64
29
Antidipsotropic-metronidazole
41
-103
11
9
9.73
3.73
0
Antidepressant medication (non-SSRI)
42
-104
6
0
8.67
3.17
0
Videotape sefl-confrontation
43
-108
8
0
10.50
3.34
13
Relaxation training
44
-152
18
17
10/56
3.06
17
Confrontational Counseling
45
-183
12
0
10.25
3.00
33
Psychotherapy
46
-207
19
16
10.89
3.26
21
Gerneral alcoholism counseling
47
-284
23
9
11.26
3.22
22
Education (tapes, lectures, or films)
48
-443
39
13
9.77
2.44
1.5
               
Cumulative Evidence Score (CES). For each study, the Methodological Quality Score is multiplied by the Outcome Logic Score (not shown). Then they added up all these scores for a particular modality. So the CES is a function of the number of studies, the scientific rigor of each study, and the outcomes for a treatment within each study.
Mean Methodological Quotient Score. This is the average score of the scientific rigor of each study in a particular modality. Scores can range from 0 to 17.
Mean Severity of Treatment Population. This reflects the average of how severely dependent the population studied was. Scores range from 1 (less severe alcohol related problems and dependence) to 4 (severe alcohol dependence).

% Excellent This is the percent of studies in each treatment category that had high Methodological Quotient Scores (>13 on scale of 1-17).

Copyright 2003. Reprinted with permission from Allyn & Bacon.

Last revised April 4, 2013.