Characteristics of Group Therapy in Clubs of Treated Alcoholics

Article excerpt

Summary - The harmful effect of taking alcoholic beverages has been known since ancient times, so the measures of fighting and treating disorders caused by alcohol developed as the society and technology developed. During the time this problem was approached from the moralistic point of view by strengthening the repression measures and stimulating the prohibition. The organization of treatment and methods that are used vary from country to country, and they partly depend on the country's resources, its social philosophy, and the tradition as well, since alcohol consumption is generally accepted as part of the human behaviour. The medical model of alcoholism was established by Jellinek in the 1 96Os and in many ways it created a new dimension in approaching the problem and solving it. Although the psychotherapeutic approach and socio-therapeutic interventions became part of the alcoholism treatment already in the early Fifties, they gained momentum in the treatment the moment alcoholism was accepted as a disease. New information from neurobiology has enhanced the significance of psychopharmacological approach to the treatment itself. There is a wide circle of measures and people who deal with counselling and treating alcohol addiction. This circle encompasses primary care activities, general hospital's first aid, psychiatric services, specialized services and institutions assigned to the treatment, as well as non-institutionalized organized society groups that in Croatia act as Clubs of treated alcoholics (CTA) while in the world they are spread as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

Key words: CTA; alcoholism; family approach to the treatment

INTRODUCTION

The medical model of alcoholism was established by Jellinek in the 1960s and in many ways it created a new dimension in approaching the problem and solving it.

Although the psychotherapeutic approach and socio-therapeutic interventions became part of the alcoholism treatment already in the early Fifties, they gained momentum in the treatment the moment alcoholism was accepted as a disease.

New information from neurobiology has enhanced the significance of psychopharmacological approach to the treatment itself.

There is a wide circle of measures taken and people who deal with counselling and treating alcohol addiction. This circle encompasses primary care activities, general hospital's first aid, psychiatric services, specialized services and institutions assigned to the treatment, as well as non-institutionalized organized society groups that in Croatia act as Clubs of treated alcoholics (CTA) while in the world they are spread as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

In 1 964 professor Vladimir Hudolin, M. D., Ph. D., established a complete and complex socio-medical approach in the treatment of alcohol addiction in Croatia. He organized a Centre for fighting and studying alcoholism at the Department of Psychiatry of the today's hospital »Sestre milosrdnice«. The Centre contains all the important elements of successful treatment of alcoholism: organized individual group psychotherapies, sociotherapies, family approach to the treatment, medicament treatment by taking disulfiram after detoxification, and going to the system of treatment in Clubs of treated alcoholics where further rehabilitation is performed.

The clubs are designed as family communities with at most twelve included families . The families are part of the treatment with the goal of changing the style of life, so that every single member, as well as the whole family system, could develop and mature. People and families in the clubs differ in sex, age, education, profession, attitude towards drinking and the style of life. They all have in common difficulties caused by alcohol. Their decision to be treated is based on the fact that alcoholics cannot control their drinking anymore, so the abstinence, which the alcoholic and his or her family begin with, is the basis and the beginning of comprehensive changes. …

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