Criteria for alcohol use disorders are relatively clear, but establishing a "cut-off point" to separate problem drinkers from nonproblem drinkers is difficult, making population estimates more problematic.
As shown in Table 1, a recent national study found that approximately 21% of Americans experienced at least one alcohol-related problem in the prior year, and roughly 1 in 3 Americans engaged in risky drinking patterns.
Based on the presenting problem, time constraints, family constellation, and other factors, you will need to determine whether the screening protocol is most effectively delivered in an interview format during the session, or whether it would be more effective to have individual family members complete paper or computer-assisted assessments.
The interview format allows you to probe further and reconcile inconsistencies, but it may not be an efficient use of limited session time — especially when multiple family members need to be assessed.
As a marriage and family therapist, you are likely to see many individuals, couples, and families in your practice who are experiencing or are at risk of experiencing significant alcohol-related problems.
This Guide will: Since the 1930s, "alcoholics" — have been the primary focus of alcohol-related intervention efforts in the United States.
For information on the assessment and diagnosis of alcohol use disorders in adolescents, see
Since recurrent psychological, relationship, or family problems often are secondary to alcohol problems, screening for alcohol problems in settings where these problems typically are treated is especially important.
This framework casts a wide net for treatment efforts, explicitly targeting individuals (or families) who currently are experiencing or are at risk for experiencing alcohol problems.Men are nearly three times more likely than women to have alcohol use disorders and about twice as likely to experience mild to moderate alcohol problems and to engage in risky drinking.However, women have higher rates of morbidity and mortality from alcoholism than men.As shown in Figure 1, alcohol use and its associated problems can be viewed on a continuum — ranging from no alcohol problems following modest consumption, to severe problems often associated with heavy consumption.Population estimates for alcohol use disorders do not include the millions of adults who experience less severe alcohol-related problems or who engage in risky drinking patterns that could potentially lead to problems.