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August 17, 2021 60 mins
Worldwide, Alcohol Use Disorder kills 3.3 million people every year. It is the leading cause of death in working men around the world. Alcohol problems are responsible for 10 times the number of fatalities from all illicit drugs combined. Dr. John F. Kelly is a Professor of Psychiatry in Addiction Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Founder and Director of the Recovery Research Institute at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Dr. Kelly led the most rigorous scientific review of Alcoholics Anonymous performed to date. This review, published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, is based on 27 rigorous studies (21 RCT's) done over the past 25 years, involving over 10,000 participants, 150 scientists and 67 institutions. The review reveals that AA and Twelve Step Facilitation not only perform as well as other interventions like CBT and Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET), but actually do better at helping many more people achieve sustained continuous abstinence and remission. AA and Twelve Step Facilitation produce increased rates and lengths of abstinence when compared to other common treatments. Dr. Kelly shares the research behind why AA is so successful and how AA tends to benefit men and women differently. He draws from decades of scientific research to address the following questions: On average, how long does it take to achieve one year of continuous sobriety? How long does it take to rewire the brain during abstinence, thereby reducing the risk of Alcohol Use Disorder to that of the general population? When talking to a person with Alcohol Use Disorder in early sobriety, how would you explain the changes in his brain? Dr. Kelly offers hope as he comments on the percentage of people with Alcohol Use Disorder who actually achieve full sustained remission. Dr. Kelly normalizes ambivalence and explains how Motivational Interviewing can help move a person toward readiness to change. He shares the 5 most important factors that predict successful long term recovery. Dr. Kelly speaks to the suffering of family members and offers helpful suggestions. We discuss collegiate recovery programs and other sober support networks, like Smart Recovery. You won't want to miss an hour with brilliant Dr. John F Kelly, a man who has dedicated his entire career to scientific research aimed at helping people affected by Alcohol Use Disorder and their families fully recover and reclaim their lives.
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