Acceptance of Reduced-Risk Drinking as a Therapeutic Goal within the Polish Alcohol Treatment System

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Abstract

Aims

To assess views on the feasibility and acceptability of reduced-risk drinking (RRD) strategies within the very homogenous and abstinence-oriented Polish alcohol treatment system.

Methods

By online survey in 2014/15 we enquired into current attitudes of nationwide sample of professionals working in outpatient alcohol treatment facilities regarding non-abstinence goals as a function of severity of the disorder (abuse/dependence) and the finality of the outcome goal.

Results

Questionnaires were completed by experienced addiction therapists, trained primarily in cognitive-behavioral therapy (n= 246, response rate = 50%). Only one third accept RRD for alcohol dependent clients (fully or partially), the three fourths accept RRD for alcohol abusing clients (fully or partially). RRD as an intermediate goal of treatment is more accepted than when set up as a final treatment objective. RRD had significantly higher level of acceptance among younger professionals. Compared to male respondents, females were more open to offering RRD to patients experiencing alcohol-related problems. Finally, therapists working according to the principles of motivational interviewing or solution focused brief therapy were significantly more in favor of RRD than others.

Conclusion

Comparing with other countries, the acceptance of RRD as a therapeutic objective in Poland is moderately low. Mistrust toward RRD strategies is mainly fueled by a belief that this strategy is not effective plus its inconsistency with therapists' own therapeutic philosophy.

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