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Articles of Interest:

Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol Treatment

Alcohol Use and Abuse: An Introduction

Alcohol Dependence, Abuse and Intoxication

Alcohol Withdrawal

Addiction and Abuse Related Disorders

Alcohol Related Psychotic and Mood Disorders

Alcohol Induced Anxiety, Sleep & Sexual Disorders

Alcohol Abuse: How do you assess a problem?

Alcohol Abuse and Related Medical Illnesses

Alcoholism Gene Factors Show Up in Very Young

Negative Effects of Alcohol Abuse on Women

Negative Effects of Alcohol Abuse on Adolescents and the Elderly

Alcohol Abuse Treatment

Alcohol Abuse: Matching Treatment With Individuals

Managing Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol Abuse Treatment: Psychosocial Interventions   

Men Tend To Crave Alcohol More Than Women 

Addiction Recovery - The Key to Abstinence        

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Alcohol Abuse Treatment: What do we do now? 

Alcohol abuse treatment for abuse and dependency: 

The specific form of alcohol abuse treatment will need to be decided on when it has been determined that an individual is drinking excessively, and will consider the specific nature, setting, intensity of the intervention and will seek to address the specific treatment needs of that individual.  The alcohol abuse treatment for a heavy drinker without evidence of alcohol dependence may be a brief intervention aimed at only reducing the drinking.  In contrast, when you have an individual who it has been determined is an alcoholic; there are usually a variety of disabilities associated with the heavy drinking, so it may be necessary to address both the drinking behavior and the related problems.  Consequently, the best treatment of an alcoholic is usually conceived to be a model that is multimodal. The following goals have been identified by First & Tasman in DSM –IV-TR Diagnosis, Etiology & Treatment for a multimodal approach to alcohol abuse treatment. 


Alcohol Abuse Treatment Goals: 

  • Complete abstinence from alcohol.

  • Stabilize acute medical (including alcohol withdrawal) and psychiatric conditions, as needed.  

  • Increase motivation for recovery.

  • Initiate treatment for chronic medical and psychiatric conditions, as needed.

  • Assist the patient in locating suitable housing (e.g.., moving from a setting were drinking is widespread), as needed.

  • Enlist social support for recovery (e.g., introduce to 12-step program and when possible, help patients repair damaged marital and other family relationships).

  • Enhance coping and relapse prevention skills (including social skills, identification and avoidance of high-risk situations).

  • Improve occupational functioning.

  • Promote maintenance recovery through ongoing participation in structured treatment or self-help groups. 

It should be noted that while total abstinence is the primary goal for individuals with alcohol dependence, moderate drinking may be considered as a worthy goal for persons who abuse alcohol without alcohol dependence. 

Initiating the alcohol abuse treatment process: 

Following the initial screening using a tool such as the AUDIT or CAGE, an individual is usually referred for diagnostic evaluation with a likely treatment recommendation or a brief intervention with a need for further monitoring.  Brief interventions are usually of a low intensity and of a short duration.  They usually consist of one to three sessions of counseling and psychoeducation.  Their goal is to provide early intervention before or soon after the onset of alcohol-related problems.  These interventions have the intention of motivating high-risk drinkers to moderate their consumption of alcohol enough to assist in care that may be delivered by primary care practitioners and/or mental health clinicians in outpatient treatment settings.  These interventions are more appropriate for individuals who meet the criteria for alcohol abuse rather than dependence. 

Brief interventions for alcohol abuse treatment: 

Over the past several decades there has been more than 40 randomized controlled trials conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of brief interventions for alcohol abuse treatment.  The result of the trials has been summarized in several meta-analysis and integrated literature reviews.  Cumulative evidence has found that clinically significant effects on negative drinking behavior and alcohol-related problems have been found to follow these interventions.  However, results have not always been consistent across these studies.  Further, these brief interventions have not been found to be an adequate alcohol abuse treatment when an individual is alcohol dependent.

From DSM-IV-TR Mental Disorders: Diagnosis, Etiology and Treatment by Michael B. First and Allan Tasman

Additional Information and webpage by Paul Susic  Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist   (Health and Geriatric Psychologist)

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