Psychological interventions

TopicPsychological interventions
Review question(s)For people with alcohol dependence or harmful alcohol use is psychological treatment x when compared to y more clinically and cost-effective and does this depend on:
  • Presence of comorbidities
  • Subtypes (matching effects)
  • Therapist-related factors (quality, therapeutic alliance, competence, training, and so on)
Chapter6. Psychological and psychosocial interventions in the treatment and management of alcohol misuse
Topic GroupPsychological interventions:
Steve Pilling
Amina Udechuku
Trevor McCarthy
Pamela Roberts
Laura Shields
Sub-section leadChair – Alex Copello
Steve Pilling
Amina Udechuku
Trevor McCarthy
Pamela Roberts
Laura Shields
ObjectivesTo review the clinical efficacy of psychological interventions without pharmacological interventions for the treatment of alcohol dependence and harmful alcohol use
Criteria for considering studies for the review
 • InterventionAny psychological intervention
 • ComparatorControl, treatment as usual, other active treatment
 • Types of participantsAdults (>18 years)
At least 80% of the sample meet the criteria for alcohol dependence or harmful alcohol use (clinical diagnosis or drinking >30 drinks per week)

Exclude: Hazardous drinkers and those drinking <30 drinks per week
Pregnant women
 • Critical outcomesDrinking frequency measures (for example, number of days drinking in the past month)
Drinking quantity measures (for example, DDD)
 • Study designRCTs
 • Include unpublished data?Unpublished data was not included
 • Restriction by date?n/a
 • Minimum sample sizeTen per arm in the trial
 • Study settingInpatient, outpatient
Search strategyDatabases: COCHRANE, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, PsycINFO
Searching other resources

Reference searching – reference list of all retrieved articles and any previous reviews were sifted for additional trials which met inclusion criteria


Personal contact – no authors were contacted or asked for their knowledge of other studies.


No drug companies were contacted for requests for additional data

General search filter used
Question specific search filter
Amendments to filter/search strategy
The review strategyMeta-analyses of RCTs
Additional assessmentsSensitivity analyses (where possible) for participant severity, and treatment intensity

From: Appendix 8, Review protocols

Cover of Alcohol-Use Disorders
Alcohol-Use Disorders: Diagnosis, Assessment and Management of Harmful Drinking and Alcohol Dependence.
NICE Clinical Guidelines, No. 115.
National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (UK).
Leicester (UK): British Psychological Society; 2011.
Copyright © 2011, The British Psychological Society & The Royal College of Psychiatrists.

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