Continuing its socially responsible emphasis on the big role alcohol and other drug addiction plays in healthcare — whether in an alternative or conventional mode — the current issue of the Mary Ann Liebert Inc's trade magazine Alternative and Complementary Therapies offers a useful roundup of some of the current innovative therapies for alcoholism.

Nutritional approaches, which have been subject to fads and fancies in the field, get a well-balanced account from author Jill Kelly, PhD. She also touches on exercise and meditation. Acu detox according to the Lincoln Hospital and National Acupuncture Detoxification Association models receive a thorough treatment, including many details of the ground-breaking research by Bullock and Culliton that will be enlightening to persons who have not had a chance to read the original scientific papers.

Perhaps Kelly's most useful offering to the working clinician or program administrator, however, is her inclusion among the complementary therapies of Alcoholics Anonymous. Her respectful treatment may help newcomers to the field of innovative addiction treatment understand that the older models upon which they are building already have foundation elements worth conserving.

Of value primarily to working professionals already in this field — it lacks the prescriptive clarity one would desire in consumer literature — the article stirs one word of caution. This comes from Kelly's repetition of the all-too-common false belief among alternative folk that “conventional” addiction treatment has a record of unmixed failure. Citations by Kelly in support of this consist only of outmoded work from the '80s (including one of the infamous “RAND Reports” which dealt mainly with Skid Road habitues enrolled in a very mixed bag of outpatient modalities, many of them poorly managed).

Even so, working professionals will gain from this article. See box below for contact information on getting a reprint or a subscription to the magazine.

Kelly J. Complementary Therapies for Alcoholism. Alternative and Complementary Therapies. v 3, n 3, June, 1997. 156–166. Contact: Karen Ballen at Mary Ann Liebert, Inc, 2 Madison Ave, Larchmont NY 10538-1962. (914) 834-3100.

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