Shame impacts recovery for alcoholics, study finds

    People who feel shame about past instances of problem drinking or alcoholism may be more likely to relapse, or suffer health problems, according to a new study published in Clinical Psychological Science.

    In their weekly conversation, WHYY’s behavioral health reporter Maiken Scott and psychologist Dan Gottlieb discuss how shame could influence relapse.

    The study was conducted at the University of British Columbia, and researchers measured shame in a sample of newly sober recovering alcoholics, to better understand how it affected their sobriety, and health outcomes.

    They found that people who exhibited more shame-based behaviors were likely to be in poorer physical health at the time of the first session. Displays of shame also predicted whether participants would relapse after the first session, and how bad that relapse was — that is, how many drinks they had if they did relapse.

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