Criteria for Early Intervention (Adults)

Early intervention is when the professional attempts to stop the patient’s continued substance abuse.  It is the first intervention attempted and should only be used when the patient shows early signs and symptoms of alcohol or drug problems.

A.  Examples: Student assistance programs, employment assistance programs,  one-to-one counseling with at-risk individuals,  education programs for first-time driving under the influence offenders.
B.  Settings: Any appropriate setting, including individual clinical offices, schools, work sites, community centers, or an individual’s home.

C.  Support systems:
1.  Individual may be referred to ongoing treatment for alcohol dependence.
2.  Individual may be referred for medical,  psychological,  or psychiatric services.
3.  Individual may be referred for an alcohol and drug assessment.
4.  Individual may be referred for community social services.

D.  Interventions:
1.  Formal intervention may be conducted by any professional who is knowledgeable about intervention techniques.
2.  Planned educational programs designed to reduce or eliminate drinking.
3.  Helping the patient to recognize and avoid harmful consequences of inappropriate alcohol use.

E.  Criteria for Admission:
1.  Any biomedical problems are stable or are being actively addressed and will not interfere with intervention.
2.  Any emotional or behavioral conditions or complications are being addressed through appropriate mental health services.
3.  The individual expresses a willingness to gain an understanding of how his or her current drinking pattern may be harmful.

4.  The situation is characterized by one of the following:
a.  The individual does not understand the need to alter his or her current use pattern to prevent further harm related to drinking.
b.  The individual needs to acquire the specific skills needed to change his or her current pattern of drinking.

5.  The individual’s living environment is characterized by one of the following:

a.  The social support system is composed primarily of individuals whose substance use patterns prevent them from meeting social, work, school, or family obligations.
b.  Family members currently are abusing substances.
c.  Significant others express values concerning alcohol or drug use that create significant conflict to the individual.
d.  Significant others condone or encourage inappropriate use of alcohol or other drugs.


Robert R. Perkinson,  PHD
Helping Your Clients Find the Road to Recovery

Alcoholism - Treatment.  I.  Title.
RC565.P375 - 2004
616.86’10651- dc22

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