Home-detoxification and relapse prevention for alcohol dependence in low resource settings: An exploratory study from Goa, India

Abhijit Nadkarni, Richard Velleman, Urvita Bhatia, Godwin Fernandes, Ethel D'souza, Pratima Murthy

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5 Citations (SciVal)


Despite the increasing burden of alcohol dependence, treatment resources in low- and middle-income countries such as India are concentrated in poorly accessible tertiary care facilities. The aim of our study was to examine the feasibility and acceptability of lay health worker-delivered home-based packages of care for alcohol dependence. We conducted an uncontrolled treatment cohort with alcohol-dependent adult males recruited in primary and secondary care. Lay health workers delivered home-detoxification and/or relapse prevention counseling. Process data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Eleven men with alcohol dependence received home detoxification and relapse prevention counseling, and 27 men received only relapse prevention counseling. Of the 11 receiving home detoxification, one participant re-started drinking; all the rest safely completed the home detoxification. During detoxification, the pulse, blood pressure, and temperature remained within the normal range and ataxia, dehydration, disorientation, and sleep normalized over the course of the detoxification. Of the 38 who entered relapse prevention treatment, 15 (39.5%) completed treatment or had a planned discharge. The mean number of sessions was 2.4 (SD = 1.3); those who had a planned discharge received an average of 3.7 (SD 0.5) sessions, and those who dropped out received an average of 1.4 (SD 0.8) sessions. There was no significant change in daily alcohol consumption and percentage days of heavy drinking (PDHD) between baseline and follow-up in the whole cohort. The SIP score reduced significantly in the whole cohort (24.5 vs. 15.0, p = 0.002), and also reduced when segregated by treatment settings, and type of treatment package received. With appropriate adaptations, our intervention warrants further research, as it has the potential to bridge the significant treatment gap for alcohol dependence in low- and middle-income countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-112
Number of pages10
Early online date29 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • Alcohol dependence
  • Home-detoxification
  • India
  • Non-specialist health worker
  • Relapse prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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