What is a Brief Intervention?

An intervention is a structured conversation between a health care provider and a patient that usually lasts about 10 to 15 minutes. Brief intervention is intended to help patients who don’t have a serious drinking problem moderate their alcohol consumption and eliminate harmful drinking patterns. Studies have shown that brief interventions can reduce alcohol consumption and help people make healthier drinking choices.

One study found that participants who received a brief intervention reduced their alcohol consumption more than those who did not. Those with more severe alcohol abuse disorders, however, do not seem to benefit from the same brief intervention strategies as those with less severe disorders. Typically, these strategies involve providing information about the hazards of continued drinking as well as offering support and encouragement to stop. People with more serious alcohol abuse disorders often require more intensive therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or medication. They will consume alcohol despite experiencing negative consequences because of drinking.

How Brief Interventions Work

A brief intervention is a one-on-one counseling session between a health care provider and someone who drinks too much alcohol. Interventions aim to encourage the person to stop harmful drinking practices, such as binge drinking. Brief interventions usually last about 20 minutes and are usually done in a doctor’s office or other medical settings. The health care provider will discuss with the person their drinking habits and the risks of continuing to drink excessively during the intervention.

Additionally, the provider may offer advice on how to reduce drinking or how to get help if you are suffering from alcohol dependence. Brief interventions are effective at reducing harmful drinking in adults and adolescents alike. Talk to your health care provider if you are concerned about your drinking or the drinking of someone you know. Interventions are typically conducted by professionals who have received training in alcohol or addiction counseling. A counselor is usually a physician, psychologist, nurse, or social worker. College students can also benefit from peer counselors. The intervention aims to help the person with the drinking problem realize that he has a problem and encourage him to seek treatment. Before the intervention, the interventionist meets with the family and friends of the person with the drinking problem to plan what will be said. A person with a drinking problem should hear from as many people as possible about how his drinking has affected them and feel compelled to get help.

Who Can Benefit from Brief Intervention?

Those who have consumed five or more drinks in one sitting, or women who have consumed four or more drinks in one sitting, qualify as binge drinkers. You might benefit from a brief intervention if you occasionally binge drink. A brief intervention is when a person, such as a doctor, talks with you about the risks of your drinking behavior and encourages you to make changes. Brief interventions are especially effective for young adults.

Getting a brief intervention from a doctor, psychologist, or faculty advisor to students will be helpful if you find yourself drinking too much on occasion while in college or just out. Brief interventions are also effective for people who are at risk for alcoholism. If you have a family member with alcoholism, you’re more likely to get it. Alcoholism has a genetic component. You should get a brief intervention if you have a family member with alcoholism.

People with alcohol-related problems in the past are more likely to benefit from a brief intervention. You’re more likely to benefit from a brief intervention if you’ve been arrested for DUI or if you’ve gotten into fights while drunk. Here are just a few ways someone might benefit from this type of quick counseling. We have only briefly touched on this type of therapeutic intervention here. For more information about it or any other aspect of alcohol abuse disorder, we can help. Just call our counselors at 833-846-5669 if you are concerned about yourself or a loved one who may benefit from a brief intervention.