New therapies for alcohol problems: Application to primary care
Attitude to Health
Primary care physicians are frequently involved in the longitudinal care of patients with alcohol problems and in helping patients to decrease their alcohol consumption. Recent clinical trials provide evidence in support of new treatment strategies for these patients. Brief interventions have been used successfully to reduce alcohol consumption in patients with hazardous and harmful drinking. Twelve-step facilitation, cognitive behavioral, and motivational enhancement therapies have produced sustained drinking reductions in patients with alcohol dependence. Pharmacologic therapies, such as naltrexone and acamprosate, have been effective in decreasing alcohol consumption when provided along with psychosocial counseling in patients with alcohol dependence. The current review highlights the application of these new therapies to primary care physicians' efforts on behalf of their patients with alcohol problems.