Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Treatment – Help With Drinking

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Not all individuals with AUD view abstinence as an acceptable, desirable or realistic treatment goal. Patients are more likely to be successful if they are able to set their own goals.


Abstinence remains the safest goal for patients, but reducing alcohol consumption is a valid and important treatment goal. Reducing alcohol leads to health benefits, lower morbidity and lower mortality.

Setting patient-centred goals

Patients are more likely to succeed at achieving self-identified goals than goals that have been set for them by others.


As a health care provider, your role will be to support your patient to identify their own goals and develop a plan to help them achieve safer alcohol consumption, reduced alcohol consumption or abstinence. It’s important to recognize that the patient may change their goals along the way.

Assessment and treatment options

For mild AUD:

  1. Provide brief intervention (BI).
  2. Refer to counselling and other community-based supports


For moderate or severe AUD:

  1. Conduct further assessments (download Further Assessment Checklist below).
  2. Provide BI and discuss the patient’s goals.
  3. Develop a tailored treatment plan based on goals:
    • Abstinence: Plan for withdrawal management followed by long-term care options (dependent on patient preference and availability).
    • Reducing their drinking: Plan for long-term care options (dependent on patient preference and availability).
    • Drink more safely: Offer harm reduction advice and refer them to a managed alcohol program, if available.

Further assessment checklist


Further assessment for moderate or severe AUD includes physical and mental health assessment, nutritional assessment, substance use history, medication review and more.

download checklist