Reduced-risk drinking as a viable treatment goal in problematic alcohol use and alcohol dependence

J Psychopharmacol. 2013 Nov;27(11):987-97. doi: 10.1177/0269881113495320. Epub 2013 Jul 2.


This review describes and discusses studies related to reduced-risk drinking as an additional treatment option for patients with problematic alcohol use and alcohol dependence. The review provides some empirical support for the following statements: (a) reduced-risk drinking is a viable option for at least some problem and dependent drinkers; (b) abstinence and non-abstinence-based treatments appear to be equally effective; (c) allowing patients to choose their treatment goal increases the success rate. The relatively short follow-up period (1-2 years) of the studies hampers a proper evaluation of the added value of the reduced-risk drinking approach.

Keywords: Alcohol dependence; abstinence; alcohol disorder; controlled drinking; reduced-risk drinking.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Abstinence / psychology
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Alcoholism / psychology*
  • Alcoholism / therapy*
  • Goals
  • Humans
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*
  • Temperance / psychology*