The story analyzes a study called Project Match conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The study was devised o learn whether certain kinds of alcoholics respond best to specific forms of psychotherapeutic treatment. Project MATCH failed to find the links its organizers and most other alcoholism investigators had expected. The results showed virtually no differences in drinking reduction attributable to matching a patient's traits with specific treatment. In fact, few clinical trials exist to show that the most popular American treatment for alcoholism, the 12-step approach, is effective at all. The study showed that most people who had once struggled with alcohol abuse could later cut down--a result that is anathema to devotees of AA and the American medical establishment.
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