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Even in the context of individual therapy, it is useful to routinely gather information from the client about the alcohol use of their spouse or other adult family members who are not present to determine whether a family member's drinking may be contributing to the client's problems.A number of standardized screening instruments are available to help you quickly identify current and potential alcohol problems.

The alcohol problems framework explicitly recognizes tremendous heterogeneity in the severity, duration, progression, etiology, consequences, and manifestations of alcohol problems.If you wish to address alcohol problems in your individual, marital, or family practice, this heterogeneity requires that you are equipped with: Epidemiological data confirm the well-known discrepancy in rates of alcohol problems for men and women.Men are nearly three times more likely than women to have alcohol use disorders and about twice as likely to experience mild to moderate alcohol problems and to engage in risky drinking.However, women have higher rates of morbidity and mortality from alcoholism than men.For information on the assessment and diagnosis of alcohol use disorders in adolescents, see

Since recurrent psychological, relationship, or family problems often are secondary to alcohol problems, screening for alcohol problems in settings where these problems typically are treated is especially important.

As a marriage and family therapist, you are likely to see many individuals, couples, and families in your practice who are experiencing or are at risk of experiencing significant alcohol-related problems.

This Guide will: Since the 1930s, "alcoholics" — have been the primary focus of alcohol-related intervention efforts in the United States.

These base rates for alcohol problems and risky drinking are high in the general population, but they are considerably higher in clinical populations.

Given the high rates of co-morbidity between alcohol use disorders and other psychiatric disorders, and the strong association that exists between drinking behavior and mood regulation, stress, and interpersonal and family problems, a high proportion of individuals, couples, and families who present for therapy may be experiencing or may be at risk for alcohol problems.

As shown in Figure 1, alcohol use and its associated problems can be viewed on a continuum — ranging from no alcohol problems following modest consumption, to severe problems often associated with heavy consumption.