Cochrane Summaries

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Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is self-help group, organised through an international organization of recovering alcoholics, that offers emotional support and a model of abstinence for people recovering from alcohol dependence using a 12-step approach.

Ferri M, Amato L, Davoli M
Published Online: 
8 July 2009

As well as AA, there are also alternative interventions based on 12-step type programmes, some self-help and some professionally-led. AA and other 12-step approaches are typically based on the assumption that substance dependence is a spiritual and a medical disease. The available experimental studies did not demonstrate the effectiveness of AA or other 12-step approaches in reducing alcohol use and achieving abstinence compared with other treatments, but there were some limitations with these studies. Furthermore, many different interventions were often compared in the same study and too many hypotheses were tested at the same time to identify factors which determine treatment success.

This record should be cited as: 
Ferri M, Amato L, Davoli M. Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programmes for alcohol dependence. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD005032. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005032.pub2
Assessed as up to date: 
20 March 2006