Mental health

Psychosocial interventions for management of alcohol dependence

Question 5: Which of the psychosocial interventions are effective and feasible in non-specialist care settings for the management of alcohol dependence?

Management of alcohol use disorder

  • Population: people with alcohol dependence and their families
  • Interventions:
    • generic or problem-oriented counselling
    • motivational interviewing/enhancement
    • family interventions
    • social support
  • Comparison: treatment as usual, wait list, no treatment, brief intervention
  • Outcomes:
    • alcohol consumption risk patterns
    • alcohol consumption
    • alcohol related harm
    • psychosocial functioning
    • death.


Psychosocial support should be routinely offered to alcohol dependent patients in non-specialist health care settings.
Strength of recommendation: STRONG

Where providers have capacity, more structured psychological interventions, such as motivational techniques, should be considered. In absence of capacity to deliver psychosocial support in non-specialist settings, referral to a specialist service should be considered, if available.
Strength of recommendation: STANDARD

Non-specialist health care providers should consider involving family members in the treatment of the patient with alcohol dependence, where appropriate, and offer support to family members in their own right.
Strength of recommendation: STANDARD

Evidence profile