Loran Archer left the following comment on the previous post:
Lifetime DSM-IV alcohol dependence in the NIAAA NESARC survey is not a chronic condition. It a broad spectrum of disorders ranging from mild dependence (3 to 9 lifetime symptoms), moderate dependence (10 to 14 lifetime symptoms)and severe dependence (15+ lifetime symptoms).
The 63% with mild and moderate lifetime symptoms do not self-identify as alcoholics and would not be identified by others as alcoholics. If they attend AA 53% will drop out.
The mild/moderate and the severe dependent populations are categorically different types of drinkers.
In an earlier study of AA access and continuance, A model of access to and continuance in Alcoholics Anonymous http://knol.google.com/k/a-model-of-access-to-and-continuance-in-alcoholics-anonymous# , I describe the differences.
- A model of access to and continuance in Alcoholics Anonymous
- Pathways to abstinence: Impact of Alcoholics Anonymous
The abstinence recovery rate for Americans with high severity alcohol disorders who continue to attend AA ranges from a low of 45%, age 18-29, to a high of 84%, age 50+ years.
The findings of this study support the findings of Kaskutas et al that “disengagement from AA does not necessarly translate to a return to drinking”. The rates of abstinence, over 60%, in the 40+ years high severity AA drop outs are similar to the rate of abstinence, 63%, in the 30-39 year age high severity group who continued in AA.. The findings suggest that a substantial portion of the “AA drop outs” attain sobriety or abstinence after a period of AA membership and maintain their abstinence without AA attendance.