An Exploratory Study: Accurate Assessment of Alcohol Abuse and Treatment by Mental Health Practitioners.
Leah Barreca, Student, School of Psychology, Chad Brownfield, Student, School of Psychology, and Malena Castillo, Student, School of Psychology
Fielding doctoral students in the clinical psychology program belonging to the addiction study work group with Dr. Marilyn Freimuth have complied data with regard to various factors that contribute to mental health practitioners ability to identify alcohol use and misuse. Mental health practitioners were given a questionnaire that addressed their attitudes about drinking, personal history with alcohol, experience treating alcohol and drug abuse, opinions on effective treatment methods and anticipated treatment approach to the individuals in the vignettes probvided. Vignettes were given which depicted examples of both harmful drinking and symptoms of alcohol abuse. Vignettes were repeated with substance dependency and substance abuse. Of the participants that were given the Harmful Drinking vignette, 65% indicated that they would treat the individual’s alcohol use in therapy at this time. Seventy one percent of participants who were given the Substance Dependent Vignette indicated that they would treat the individual’s alcohol use in therapy at this time. We were also interested in the primary goal of therapy if the participants’ choose to treat the individual’s alcohol use in therapy. Of the participants’ that received the Harmful Drinking vignette and chose to provide therapy, 56% of those participants’ chose primary goals other than abstinence, reducing the amount, and limiting negative consequences. Of the participants’ that received the Substance Dependence vignette and chose to treat the alcohol use in therapy at that time, 43% indicated that they would have a primary goal other than abstinence, reducing the amount, and limiting negative consequences. In addition, 34% of participants indicated that they would choose a primary goal of abstinence for the individual described in the Substance Dependent vignette.