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Outcome after in-patient detoxification for alcohol dependence: A naturalistic comparison of 7 versus 28 days stay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)580 - 586
Number of pages7
JournalAlcohol and Alcoholism
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2000

King's Authors


Research has tended to show that the gains of residential rehabilitation are short-term and cost-inefficient, This study compares the outcomes of two samples, one group staying at a non-statutory sector alcohol detoxification unit for less than or equal to7 days (short stay: SS) with a second group also admitted for detoxification but who stayed at the Unit for a further 8-21 days (long stay: LS). Allocation was not at random: the longer stay was either at the request of the client, referring or treatment agency itself and then had to be approved by an external funding agency. Sixty-four DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) alcohol-dependent subjects were studied. Baseline data included socio-demographic information, illicit drug use during the past 12 months, severity of alcohol dependence, alcohol problems, physical/psychological symptoms, depression and indices of quality of life. At baseline, LS subjects reported more recreational cannabis use than SS subjects. Sixty-two (97%) subjects were re-interviewed 12 weeks after baseline assessment. During follow-up, equal proportions of each group relapsed (greater than or equal to 21 units/7 day period for males; greater than or equal to 14 units/7day period for females). There was a trend for SS clients to have consumed less alcohol in total than the LS clients. The trend was towards improvement in the study measurements for the SS group, though none of the changes was significant. In the LS group, all variables tended towards a deterioration in health status. The longer stay did not appear to confer any extra benefit to the LS group. Cannabis use and illicit drug use at baseline, while commoner in the LS group, did not predict drinking or social adjustment in the follow-up period in this sample and thus could not be used to explain the lack of a better outcome in the LS group.

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