24 May 2016

Why an Addiction Intervention Will Not Work for Everyone

One of the most effective ways of encouraging a loved one to get help for a drug or alcohol addiction is with an addiction intervention. However, a new study shows that alcohol interventions do not work in fraternities in the US. The study, conducted by researchers at Miriam Hospital in Rhode Island and Brown University Medical School, showed that fraternity brothers are highly unlikely to change the way they drink after attending an alcohol education seminar. In fact, some studies have shown that fraternity brothers actually drank more alcohol after attending a lecture on the effects of excessive alcohol consumption.

Senior scientist at Miriam Hospital and Brown University Medical School, associated professor Lisa A J Scott-Sheldon said, “Current intervention methods appear to have limited effectiveness in reducing alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems among fraternity and possibly sorority members.”

Alcohol Education Seminars

Many college students in the US attend alcohol education seminars that are around an hour long and that educate the students about the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption. Nevertheless, with most fraternities focusing largely on social drinking events, alcohol and addiction interventions are often ineffective. Experts believe it is almost impossible to manage drinking habits among fraternity members because many of them see alcohol as a way to achieve both sexual and social goals.

Professor Scott-Sheldon said that the results of the study were unexpected because the team believed that alcohol interventions would work for fraternity members in the same way that they did for the wider student population. Nonetheless, she added, “It may just be more challenging to act on your intentions if the environment endorses alcohol use.”

The Greek Life

Fraternities and sororities are known as Greek Life organisations because they tend to be named after letters of the Greek alphabet. The drinking culture of the Greek Life is something that experts believe needs to be addressed because current interventions seem to have no effect.

A recent study here in the UK found that young adults are much more likely to drink heavily if they have attended third level education. The study was conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Glasgow, and it revealed that those who smoked and/or attended college or university were likely to become heavy drinkers. The study suggests that just as the United States, there is also a strong drinking culture among third level organisations here in the UK.

Dr Michael Green said, “It appears that heavy drinking in early adulthood is more likely for both adolescent smokers and those who go to university or college. That would suggest that the pathways to heavy drinking are more varied and opposing than had been previously thought.”

Study authors believe that the results may have an effect on methods used for curbing dangerous drinking habits in young adults. Dr Green added, “Currently, interventions that focus only on heavy drinking in universities/colleges are targeting a more advantaged population and may neglect more disadvantaged drinkers. There may be common causes affecting disadvantaged young people that lead to both smoking and heavy drinking. If we can identify and understand these, it may be easier to intervene to prevent both.”

Dangers of Excessive Alcohol Consumption

The culture of heavy drinking among college and university students both here and in the US is a cause for concern. The UK government recently reviewed the weekly alcohol guidelines for men, reducing this from 21 units to 14. However, binge drinkers commonly drink up to 14 units in one session, which could be causing harmful consequences.

Excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to a number of physical and mental health problems. Alcohol is directly linked to seven different forms of cancer and a host of other problems, including dementia. There is also the risk of addiction when alcohol is frequently consumed and in large quantities.

Treating Addiction

Alcohol addiction is a devastating illness that has terrible consequences for those affected as well as the people they love. This illness changes the way the brain functions and has a knock-on effect in all areas of a person’s life. Once addiction takes hold, it can be difficult to overcome. Nevertheless, treatments are available for those who want to get better.

One of the biggest issues facing the loved ones of those suffering from addiction is denial. Many addicts and alcoholics will live in denial about their problem and will refuse to accept help. This can be frustrating for loved ones, but there are ways to tackle this issue. An addiction intervention is one of the best ways to encourage a loved one to seek help.

An intervention involves a group of people that the addict respects and loves coming together to encourage the addicted individual to accept help. Each person will take it in turns to explain how the addiction has affected him or her. The group will attempt to get their loved one to realise the extent of the problem and to agree to treatment.

Interventions are one of the most effective methods in terms of getting through to those affected by addiction. If you are interested in learning more about interventions, or if you would like to be put in touch with a professional interventionist, contact us here at UKAT today.


  1.  Daily Mail 
  2. Express.co.uk 

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