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Prevention of alcoholism: it is easier to prevent than to treat it

24.10.2019 Author: Psychologist Pavel Khoroshutin

Alcohol addiction is a dangerous disease associated with the physical and mental degradation of the individual. Unfortunately, in some cases patients on the gate with the diagnosed stage 3 alcoholism have to seek help from a narcologist. They will have long-term therapy in the hospital and subsequent rehabilitation. No doctor can guarantee that a person will not start drinking again. Therefore, the most effective way to combat addiction is to prevent it. It is much better to prevent the development of the disease than to treat it later. In the article we will consider the preventive measures effective in the fight against alcoholism.


Why is alcoholism prevention needed?

prevention methods

Prevention of alcoholism is a whole system of complex social, socio-economic, health, psychological, educational and psychogenic measures aimed at preventing the development of addiction or an effective therapy of already formed addiction to alcohol. This is the most effective way to protect those at risk from the harmful effects of alcohol — adolescents, children of addicts and people who have suffered physical and psychological trauma. [1]

Since 2012, Russia has adopted several laws aimed at preventing alcoholism. This includes a ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages (after 9 p.m. and to persons under 18) and punishment by warning or fine for drinking alcohol in public places. Lectures about the dangers of alcohol are being regularly held for high school students. However, this is not enough to effectively prevent addiction. People themselves should be determined to lead a healthy lifestyle and taking care of loved ones.

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Types of alcoholism prevention

Prevention of alcoholism among adults and adolescents can be primary, secondary, and tertiary. Let’s take a closer look at the activities that are effective in combating the addiction. [1]

Primary preventionThese are measures aimed at preventing the development of addiction among those who do not drink alcohol. They help to reduce the risk of addiction forming young people because it is their first attempts to try alcohol that often lead to the formation of a bad habit in the future. Also, primary prevention of addiction is useful for people with various mental disorders, since they tend to fight depression and mood swings through indulging in bad habits.The easiest and safest way to prevent alcoholism is to make it clear to a person what exactly awaits them if they start drinking: numerous health and family problems, inability to build a career and achieve success in life and early death. When a negative image of a drinker is formed in the mind of a potential addict, they are unlikely to want to get on this slippery slope.The work plan for primary alcohol prevention usually includes:Conversations and videos about the dangers of alcohol;Сommunicating with people who have abused alcohol in the past;Promoting a healthy lifestyle; and Formation of motivation for personal development (hobby, sports and self-education)But, unfortunately, these methods do not always lead to the desired result. Support is very important at this stage. It is necessary that a person believes in themselves, that they will be able cope with any problems. It is important to offer teenagers an alternative: to help them find different interests, overcome fears and uncertainty; then they will find their way in this life. The task of the surrounding adults is to support and direct them.
Secondary preventionThis helps already sick people who are addicted to alcohol. The task of secondary prevention is to stop an alcoholic at a time when his body has not yet undergone pathological changes incompatible with a full life. The addict has to understand for himself that it is time to give up on alcohol.Often alcoholics do not take the problem seriously. They are convinced that they keep everything under control and, if desired, can say goodbye to a bad habit. The person begins to perceive even clear signs of dependence such as booze breath, unhealthy appearance and inappropriate behavior as the norm. Therefore, in the secondary prevention of alcoholism it is important to involve loved ones. Their job is to convince the addict that there is a serious problem and to support him if he agrees to therapy.  The plan for secondary alcohol prevention may include:Identifying the causes of the addiction and eliminating them;Forming motivation for personal changes;Psychological training for the dependent and his loved ones;Meetings with former alcoholics to create a positive pattern of behavior
Tertiary prevention
This is a set of measures that helps people after giving up alcohol. Proper tertiary prevention minimizes the risks of backsliding and facilitates the adaptation of the addict in the “sober” world after long-term consumption of alcohol.The chances of tertiary prevention being successful are much lower than primary and secondary ones since it is enough for a former alcoholic to feel all the “charm” of intoxication once again to become dominated by addiction again. At this stage, following activities are effective:restoration of health of the addicted and creating a positive mindset in him;communication with former alcoholics as an effective motivation for changes in life; individual or group trainings with a psychologist;complete exclusion of alcohol from life; andbreaking of bonds with former alcoholic friends

Alcohol prevention programs for adolescents, men and women

alcohol addiction

The alcohol prevention plan that a professional may offer largely depends on the duration of alcohol abuse, gender and age. The doctor also looks into what can exacerbate the course of the disease.

Let’s consider the important features of alcohol prevention among minors, as well as adult men and women.

Prevention of alcoholism in women

According to experts, heredity and unresolved personal problems contribute to a greater extent to the formation of female alcoholism. Women drink alcohol to become more confident or forget about the psychological traumas experienced earlier. The therapy of alcoholism in women is complicated by the fact that their addiction develops more rapidly than in men. That’s why it is the timely prevention of addiction that comes to the fore.

For women brought up by drinking parents, primary prevention of drunkenness and alcoholism is extremely important. They need to understand that they are at risk. Strict control over the amount of alcohol consumed is needed, otherwise, even “harmless” gatherings with friends with a bottle of wine can transform into an addiction. The same applies to women who have experienced psychological trauma or often have been suffering from depression. Often it is alcohol that becomes a way for them to “forget.” It is important to understand that alcohol does not solve personal problems, but only adds new ones.

In secondary and tertiary prevention, when an addicted woman is desperately struggling with a bad habit, the help and support of the family is necessary. Women are much more likely to break down and start drinking again in a fit of desperation or stress than men. [4]

Prevention of alcoholism in men

Men are much less likely than women to turn to a narcologist in the early stages of alcoholism when it is still possible to part with the bad habit with minimum losses. They may not recognize the problem to the last, believing that everything is under control. Meanwhile, the addiction would be progressing. This erroneous self-confidence makes primary and secondary prevention of alcoholism ineffective when it comes to addicted men. Often the narcologist is approached by the relatives of an alcoholic when he is already in a serious condition. It followed by rehabilitation making the patient surface the drinking spree and persuasion to finally start treatment.

If a man decides to stop drinking, the whole range of measures of tertiary alcohol prevention is used. During this period, it is important that the patient minimize communication with friends-alcoholics at first, because breakdowns in men most often occur because of negative outside influence.

Prevention of alcoholism in teenagers

According to experts, constant use of alcohol under the age of 18-20 leads to alcohol dependence in more than 80% of reported cases. The growing body is several times faster in getting used to the alcohol on the physiological as well as mental level. Addiction progresses and the identity of the addicted degrades.

Family conversations and lectures by narcologists organized at school are only part of the recommended methods for preventing alcoholism among young people. But it is important to pay attention to another aspect. Children’s alcohol dependence is based on their problems — low self-esteem, weak communication skills, emotional instability, low willpower and psychological stress. Solving these problems is the main goal when preventing alcoholism in minors. And that can’t happen without the involvement of parents. They would be responsible for creating all conditions for normal development of the child. It is important to convey to the child the idea that alcoholism leads nowhere. Alcohol does not solve problems, does not make a person successful and popular.

Positive adult example is equally important for the prevention of alcoholism in children. According to narcologists, in 60% of the detected cases of addiction, future alcoholics took their first drink from their parents. It turns out that adults themselves are sometimes guilty of facilitating alcoholism in children. Setting heart on a healthy lifestyle and the absence of the alcoholic parties within sight of the child are the most effective measures for the prevention of alcoholism.

According to official statistics, among 100% of alcohol abusers almost 32% of addicts first started drinking alcohol at the age of 10 and about 64% — at the age of 14-15. Please take note of these frightening numbers. It turns out that even middle-level schoolchildren desperately need preventive measures aimed at combating alcoholism.

Prevention of alcoholism with the 7Spsy behavior modification technique

Timely identified dependence is the key to effective prevention and treatment of alcoholism. Even if the person does not recognize the problem, you can help them get rid of the addiction. By contacting a specialist as soon as possible, it is possible to minimize the risks of developing serious diseases associated with regular drinking.

Consult a psychologist if you know that a loved one — a child, a husband/wife, a parent — has begun to regularly drink alcohol. The 7Spsy behavior modification technique has proven to be effective in combating alcoholism. This is a patented method based on the theories of I.P. Pavlov, B.F. Skinner, A.A. Ukhtomsky and others.

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Training course helps addicts in the 1st and 2nd stages of alcoholism to cope with the addiction. This is the beginning of a new life in which there is no place for alcohol. Having mastered a healthy behavior pattern and solved personal problems, a person will say no to alcohol. The course will be extremely useful for the alcoholism prevention in teenagers. A psychologist will help the child to form negative attitude towards the use of alcohol. The positive mindset developed during the course will contribute to the formation of adequate self-esteem and communication skills. These are the key points in the prevention of alcohol addiction in children.

The 7Spsy Behavior modification technique training course is designed for up to 6 weeks. Course with a psychologist takes place in a convenient remote mode — by phone, e-mail or in online chatrooms. Participation in the training is strictly confidential. The addict is not required to tell friends, colleagues, teachers or classmates about the training.


  1. «Profilaktika alkogolizma», 1986 g., N. YA. Kopyt.
  2. «Sistemnyj podhod k izucheniyu alkogolizma i narkomanii» (zhurnal «Obozrenie psihiatrii i med. psihologii», 1992 g., №1), B. E. Alekseev.
  3. «Profilaktika narkomanii i alkogolizma: Ucheb. posobie dlya stud. vyssh. ucheb. Zavedenij», 2003 g., N. A. Sirota.
  4. «K voprosu o profilaktike alkogolizma u zhenshchin v raznye vozrastnye periody» (zhurnal «Tyumenskij medicinskij zhurnal», 2011 g., №2), E. N. Krivulin (https://cyberleninka.ru/article/v/k-voprosu-o-profilaktike-alkogolizma-u-zhenschin-v-raznye-vozrastnye-periody).