Stepped care as a heuristic approach to the treatment of alcohol problems

J Consult Clin Psychol. 2000 Aug;68(4):573-9.


A stepped care approach to treatment decisions for alcohol problems consists of the application of decision rules derived from practice in other areas of health care. The treatment used should be (a) individualized, (b) consistent with the research literature and supported by clinical judgment, and (c) least restrictive but still likely to be successful. Used in this way, stepped care emphasizes serving the needs of clients efficiently but without sacrificing quality of care. Issues concerning stepped care are discussed, and the application of a stepped care approach to alcohol treatment services is described.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / therapy*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Humans
  • Patient Care Planning / economics
  • Patient Care Planning / standards
  • Patient Selection
  • Psychotherapy, Brief*
  • Self-Help Groups*
  • United States