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Psychological changes in alcohol-dependent patients during a residential rehabilitation program

Authors Giorgi I, Ottonello M, Vittadini G, Bertolotti G

Received 31 July 2015

Accepted for publication 21 October 2015

Published 7 December 2015 Volume 2015:11 Pages 2989—2996

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S93520

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Prof. Dr. Roumen Kirov

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder

Ines Giorgi,1 Marcella Ottonello,2,3 Giovanni Vittadini,4 Giorgio Bertolotti5

1Psychology Unit, Salvatore Maugeri Foundation, Clinica del Lavoro e della Riabilitazione, IRCCS, Pavia, 2Department of Physical & Rehabilitation Medicine, Salvatore Maugeri Foundation, Clinica del Lavoro e della Riabilitazione, IRCCS, Genoa, 3Department of Medicine, PhD Program in Advanced Sciences and Technologies in Rehabilitation Medicine and Sport, Università di Tor Vergata, Rome, 4Alcohol Rehabilitation Unit, Salvatore Maugeri Foundation, Clinica del Lavoro e della Riabilitazione, IRCCS, Pavia, 5Psychology Unit, Salvatore Maugeri Foundation, Clinica del Lavoro e della Riabilitazione, IRCCS, Tradate, Italy


Background: Alcohol-dependent patients usually experience negative affects under the influence of alcohol, and these affective symptoms have been shown to decrease as a result of alcohol-withdrawal treatment. A recent cognitive–affective model suggests an interaction between drug motivation and affective symptoms. The aim of this multicenter study was to evaluate the psychological changes in subjects undergoing a residential rehabilitation program specifically designed for alcohol addiction, and to identify at discharge patients with greater affective symptoms and therefore more at risk of relapse.
Materials and methods: The sample included 560 subjects (mean age 46.91±10.2 years) who completed 28-day rehabilitation programs for alcohol addiction, following a tailored routine characterized by short duration and high intensity of medical and psychotherapeutic treatment. The psychological clinical profiles of anxiety, depression, psychological distress, psychological well-being, and self-perception of a positive change were assessed using the Cognitive Behavioral Assessment – Outcome Evaluation questionnaire at the beginning and at the end of the program. The changes in the psychological variables of the questionnaire were identified and considered as outcome evaluation of the residential intervention. Moreover, differences in the psychological functioning between patients with different characteristics were investigated.
Results: The score measured by the Cognitive Behavioral Assessment – Outcome Evaluation showed significant improvements in all the psychological characteristics assessed, and the profile at discharge was within the normal scores. Some significant differences were found in relation to specific characteristics of the sample, such as age, sex, level of education, type of intervention, and polysubstance use.
Conclusion: This study shows the changes in psychological profile in subjects undergoing residential rehabilitation from alcohol and how this profile may permit identification of subjects requiring more psychosocial support after discharge.

Keywords: alcohol dependence, alcohol withdrawal, outcome measure, residential rehabilitation, psychological support

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