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Electronic and Other Self-Help Materials for Unhealthy Alcohol Use in Primary Care

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Addressing Unhealthy Alcohol Use in Primary Care

Abstract

There are ample reasons to think broadly about facilitating a change in unhealthy alcohol use, given that the majority of persons meeting criteria for an alcohol-use disorder neither receive nor want treatment. At the same time, the majority of those who recover from an alcohol-use disorder do not do so via formal treatment, and brief interventions (one or two sessions, often as brief as 15 min in length) for alcohol use frequently show results that appear equivalent to those of longer interventions, sometimes even with heavier drinkers. Growing evidence suggests that even pretreatment assessment, and/or the decision to seek help and be involved in a research study, can result in significant change. Thus, alternative approaches could be important options for those whose unhealthy drinking is not severe enough to merit formal treatment, as well as with dependent drinkers who are currently unwilling to consider formal treatment. Self-help approaches broadly defined here as any nonpharmaceutical source of assistance not involving a live counselor or other professional may meet the need for an alternative approach that is efficacious, relatively palatable to patients exhibiting unhealthy alcohol use, and minimally burdensome to medical staff. The current review included only interventions that have been subjected to at least minimal empirical evaluation, defined as at least one controlled trial. Evidence supports the use of self-help interventions in helping to promote reductions in alcohol use among persons with unhealthy alcohol use. If implemented widely, they have the potential for a relatively strong public health and population impact.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Similarly, Ondersma et al. [41] have suggested that during-session data such as ratings of state motivation or satisfaction could serve as a proxy measure of likely outcome, allowing a large number of treatment characteristics to be evaluated with greater speed, and less expense, than in a traditional clinical trial.

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Correspondence to Steven J. Ondersma PhD .

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Ondersma, S.J., Tzilos, G.K. (2013). Electronic and Other Self-Help Materials for Unhealthy Alcohol Use in Primary Care. In: Saitz, R. (eds) Addressing Unhealthy Alcohol Use in Primary Care. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-4779-5_14

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-4779-5_14

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