April 26, 2016

Effectiveness of Brief Interventions

Are Brief Interventions Effective?

It is perhaps counter-intuitive to believe that a brief intervention can be as effective as long-term, residential, treatment. However, research suggests that:

“Briefer and less costly treatment modalities appear to be at least as effective in treating undifferentiated alcohol problems, as more expensive approaches” (Bien et al, 1993, p329).

Brief interventions for alcohol problems are: (1) usually significantly more effective than no intervention; 2) commonly show similar impact to that of more extensive interventions; and (3) can enhance the effectiveness of subsequent treatment (Bien et al, 1993, p 327).

When Brief Interventions are not Appropriate

Brief interventions are not always appropriate:

“Brief interventions are most effective for clients without severe dependence or entrenched alcohol-related problems” (Jarvis et al, 2005, p20).

The following are all indicators for long-term intervention:

  • Psychiatric problem/dual diagnosis
  • Serious or dependent substance abuse ( a referral would be appropriate)
  • Poly-substance abuse/ long-standing problem
  • Pre-contemplative; i.e. a resistant client
  • Life at risk (suicidal ideation etc)
  • Someone needs to be hospitalised (physical problem)
  • Physical impairment such as alcohol-related brain damage (i.e. Korsikoff’s)
  • Psycho-social problems: homelessness etc