HOW TO HELP PATIENTS: A CLINICAL APPROACH
USE DISORDERS (abuse or dependence)
Advise and Assist (Brief Intervention)
your conclusion and recommendation clearly:
believe that you have an alcohol use disorder.
I strongly recommend that you quit drinking and I’m willing to help.”
to the patient's concerns and medical findings if present.
Negotiate a drinking goal:
- Abstaining is
the safest course for most patients with alcohol use disorders.
who have milder forms of abuse or dependence and are unwilling to abstain may
be successful at cutting down. (See Step 3
for At-Risk Drinking.)
- Consider referring for additional
evaluation by an addiction specialist, especially if the patient
is dependent. (See page 23 for tips on finding treatment
- Consider recommending a mutual
- For patients who have dependence, consider
- the need for medically managed withdrawal
(detoxification) and treat accordingly (see page 31).
- prescribing a medication
for alcohol dependence for those who endorse abstinence as a goal (see page 13).
followup appointments, including medication management support if needed
(see page 17).
At Followup: Continue Support
Document alcohol use and review goals at each visit (see page 27 for downloadable
progress notes). If the patient is receiving a medication for alcohol dependence,
medication management support should be provided (see page 17).
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