Making Effective Referrals to Alcoholics Anonymous and Other 12-step Programs
edited by: Richard Saitz
This chapter will describe 12-step programs, explain what occurs at meetings, and address common mis-conceptions. Our central goal is to present practical guidelines to help primary care physicians make referrals to 12-step programs. Effective referrals include introducing patients to these programs, motivating them to attend meetings, having follow-up conversations with them about their experiences at meetings, and encouraging them to consider on-going affiliation. The guidelines presented here can help you talk with patients who are new to 12-step programs as well as patients who attended in the past but found the experience unhelpful. Since you may wonder whether 12-step programs actually work, we briefly describe the accumulating research evidence for their effectiveness. Perhaps most important, we discuss why your role as a primary care physician is so pivotal.