From the October 1970 magazine.

About Alcoholism - Alcoholism Information, Research and Treatment

Five Stages to Recovery

Alcoholics in an urban ghetto can be successfully involved in a therapeutic program for social and psychological rehabilitation, workers from the Harlem Hospital Center Alcoholism Unit reported. The report was made by Sheldon Zimberg, MD, director of the unit; Henry Lipscomb, M.S.W., coordinator of clinical services; and Elizabeth B. Davis, MD, director of the center's department of psychiatry.

The authors outlined five stages for patient involvement in day care. Stage 1, "enthusiastic acceptance," lasts about 1-3 weeks after the patient enters the unit. He abstains from alcohol and accepts the program wholeheartedly. In Stage 2, the patient starts "provocative drinking." This tends to last about 2-6 weeks, and the patient either is able to modify his drinking or drops out of the program. Dropouts are visited at home and encouraged to return. Many are advised to start on Antabuse. When the patient has become abstinent or drinks very little, he has reached Stage 3, "group involvement." This may last 2-6 months, during which the patient develops close attachments to staff and other patients. Stage 4, also lasting 2-6 months, is "beginning independence." The patient may move out of the program into an employment, training, or educational situation. Severe anxiety may cause a reversion to Stage 2 drinking. Stage 5, of indeterminate length, involves some achievement of success in job or training. The patient is followed in a weekly group-therapy program with or without medication.

-- Physician's Alcohol Newsletter

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