Alcoholics Anonymous and Other 12-Step Programmes for Alcohol Dependence

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Systematic Review

Source: The Cochrane Collaborative

Last Reviewed: March 2020

In this Cochrane systematic review, researchers evaluated whether peer‐led Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and professionally‐delivered treatments that facilitate AA involvement, like 12‐Step Facilitation (TSF) interventions, achieve important outcomes like: 

  • Abstinence
  • Reduced drinking intensity
  • Reduced alcohol‐related consequences
  • Alcohol addiction severity
  • Health care cost offsets

Researchers found that:

  • Manualized AA/TSF interventions are more effective than other established treatments, like cognitive behavioral therapy, for increasing abstinence
  • Non‐manualized AA/TSF may perform as well as other established treatments
  • AA/TSF interventions, both manualized and non‐manualized, may be at least as effective as other treatments for other alcohol‐related outcomes
  • AA/TSF probably produces substantial health care cost savings among people with alcohol use disorder
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Suggested Citation


Kelly, J., Humphreys, K. & Ferri, M. (2020). Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12‐step programs for alcohol use disorder. Retrieved from