This mental clarity also enhances productivity at work or in pursuing personal hobbies because there’s no longer a hangover holding you back. Quitting alcohol for good is a life-changing decision with countless benefits that will make you wonder why you didn’t quit sooner. Your liver will start to recover and function better, your skin can become clearer, and your risk of serious diseases such as heart disease and certain types of cancer can significantly decrease.

controlled drinking vs abstinence

Lastly, we review existing models of nonabstinence psychosocial treatment for SUD among adults, with a special focus on interventions for drug use, to identify gaps in the literature and directions for future research. We identify a clear gap in research examining nonabstinence psychosocial treatment for drug use disorders and suggest that increased research attention on these interventions represents the logical next step for the field. A focus on abstinence is pervasive in SUD treatment, defining success in both research and practice, and punitive measures are often imposed on those who do not abstain. Most adults with SUD do not seek treatment because they do not wish to stop using substances, though many also recognize a need for help.

Abstinence Vs. Moderation Management: Success and Outcomes

You’re not alone, and it’s important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to managing alcohol use. A field that used to be very black and white in its approach has many areas of gray that may be a good fit for you. Reach out for help and engage in a conversation with your provider about all the treatment options that are available to you.

controlled drinking vs abstinence

Abstinence benefits extend beyond just physical improvements though; they also encompass mental health improvements. Emotional resilience begins to grow as you learn new ways to cope with stress or anxiety without reaching for a drink. However, the extent of their problems according to ICD-10 (International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th edition) or DSM 5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders, 5th edition) controlled drinking vs abstinence was not measured. Thus, there might be individuals in the sample who do not consider SUD as their main problem. Some of the abstainers reported experience of professional contacts, such as therapists or psychologists. These contacts had often complemented the support from AA but in some cases also complicated it as the IPs found that their previous SUD was related to other things that were not in line with the approach to addiction as a disease (e.g. IP19).

1 Non-abstinent recovery from alcohol use disorders

Clients reporting CD in the present study only met one of these criteria – an initial period of abstinence (Booth, 2006; Coldwell and Heather, 2006). However, the results show that the view on abstinence and CD can change during the recovery process. In three Swedish projects, on recovery from SUD, 56 clients treated in 12-step programmes were interviewed approximately six months after treatment (Skogens and von Greiff, 2014, 2016; von Greiff and Skogens, 2014, 2017; Skogens et al., 2017). Clients were recruited via treatment units (outpatient and inpatient) in seven Swedish city areas. Inclusion criteria were drawn up to recruit interviewees able to reflect on their process of change. Therefore, the client should be at the end of or have recently completed post-treatment intervention and be judged by a professional to be in a positive change process regarding their SUD.