Prevention and Treatment Programs for Alcoholism

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  • 0:05 Strategies
  • 0:59 Prevention
  • 2:35 Treatment
  • 5:04 Support Programs
  • 5:58 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lisa Roundy

Lisa has taught at all levels from kindergarten to college and has a master's degree in human relations.

Dealing with the effects of alcohol abuse and alcoholism in society includes prevention of the problem, treatment when it does occur, and support for recovering alcoholics. Learn more about how this takes place as you explore this lesson.


The most common place for accidental injuries to occur is in the bathtub. The injury is usually a result of slipping and falling. Most people try to prevent bathtub injuries from occurring by adding a non-slip surface to the bottom of their bathtub. Still, the injuries will sometimes occur and require treatment.

Like slipping in the bathtub can result in injury, alcohol abuse often results in alcoholism, a medical condition typically signified by a physical compulsion to drink. Dealing with the issue of alcoholism is handled in a similar manner. Steps are taken to aid in the prevention of alcoholism and treatment is provided if prevention is not successful. This lesson will discuss prevention and various treatment options that exist for alcoholism, as well as support offered to alcoholics in recovery.


Alcoholism prevention programs are like the non-slip surface in your bathtub. Their goal is to prevent the problem from occurring. These programs fall into two categories: education and brief intervention.

Education programs are the most well known of the prevention techniques. Alcohol education programs are used to educate people about alcohol use before it occurs and the consequences of alcohol abuse. Many alcohol education programs target school-age children, such as DARE and Project ALERT. College students are also a target population for alcohol education programs, like AlcoholEdu, an online course that is required to be taken by freshman at many universities.

Brief intervention is a targeted intervention for those who are at risk for alcohol abuse or alcoholism. Brief intervention typically consists of several individual meetings with a qualified professional to discuss strategies to prevent drinking patterns that could lead to alcohol abuse or alcoholism. This is a prevention strategy because it is used to prevent drinking problems in at risk individuals. It is not an option for a person who may already have a drinking problem.

Alcohol prevention programs help educate and prevent a number of alcohol related problems from occurring. But, just like the non-slip surface of a bathtub cannot prevent all falls, alcohol prevention programs cannot prevent everyone from abusing alcohol.


What do you do when alcohol abuse does happen? You seek treatment just as you would for an injury sustained from falling in the bathtub. If you are unconscious after the fall, you may be admitted to the hospital. If you twist your knee, you may need intensive physical therapy, multiple times a week until it gets better.

Like the treatment you would seek for your bathtub injury, the treatment for a person with an alcohol problem will be different depending on their needs. Alcohol treatment programs assist individuals in recovery from alcohol abuse or alcoholism. There are three main categories of alcohol treatment programs: residential treatment, outpatient treatment, and counseling.

Residential treatment consists of hospitalization for a period of time to ensure the success of recovery. A person who needs residential treatment lives at the treatment facility while in the process of recovery. While in the treatment facility their progress will be closely monitored, and they will receive intensive treatment during the day. Residential treatment typically lasts from 30-90 days. It's helpful if an individual does not have a stable living situation or needs medical treatment for the physical symptoms of alcoholism.

Outpatient treatment involves close monitoring of recovery with visits to a treatment facility multiple times a week. Outpatient treatment programs are for individuals with a stable living situation who still need ongoing monitoring to ensure the success of recovery from alcohol abuse or alcoholism. You may hear outpatient treatment programs referred to as partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient programs. The length of these programs varies, and a person may begin their recovery process in outpatient treatment or transition from residential treatment to outpatient treatment.

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