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Journal of Korean medical science

The current situation of treatment systems for alcoholism in Korea.


PMID 23400047

Abstract

Alcoholism is becoming one of the most serious issues in Korea. The purpose of this review article was to understand the present status of the treatment system for alcoholism in Korea compared to the United States and to suggest its developmental direction in Korea. Current modalities of alcoholism treatment in Korea including withdrawal treatment, pharmacotherapy, and psychosocial treatment are available according to Korean evidence-based treatment guidelines. Benzodiazepines and supportive care including vitamin and nutritional support are mainly used to treat alcohol withdrawal in Korea. Naltrexone and acamprosate are the drugs of first choice to treat chronic alcoholism. Psychosocial treatment methods such as individual psychotherapy, group psychotherapy, family therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, cue exposure therapy, 12-step facilitation therapy, self-help group therapy, and community-based treatment have been carried out to treat chronic alcoholism in Korea. However, current alcohol treatment system in Korea is not integrative compared to that in the United States. To establish the treatment system, it is important to set up an independent governmental administration on alcohol abuse, to secure experts on alcoholism, and to conduct outpatient alcoholism treatment programs and facilities in an open system including some form of continuing care.