Background: The importance of early identification and effective treatment for risky drinking grows with the increasing rate of alcohol use by women.
Objectives: This study aims to contrast treatment approaches for two samples of problem drinking women.
Methods: The samples consisted of (i) 134 alcohol treatment-seeking Swedish women receiving long-term comprehensive services; and (ii) 152 US women who were not seeking treatment for alcohol but were medical outpatients with one of four conditions exacerbated by excessive alcohol use and received a brief intervention as part of a study. Data consisted of questionnaires assessing alcohol consumption, perceived stress and attitudes towards change.
Results: While the treatment-seeking Swedish group drank more alcohol at the start of treatment, all women reduced their consumption of alcohol at the end of treatment/follow-up. Women who reported more stress drank more initially in both samples.
Conclusion and Scientific Significance: This report contrasts two “extreme” approaches to treatment: longterm, open-ended, outpatient treatment and, time-limited, structured brief intervention for risky drinking women. Both treatment methods yielded positive results with significantly reduced drinking. Factors associated with successful outcome included the women’s attitudes toward treatment and conviction for the necessity of change in drinking habits.