The BRENDA Model: A Psychosocial Addiction Model to Identify and Treat Alcohol Disorders in Elders

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Studies have shown that up to 10% of the elderly drink daily and as much as 4% have alcoholism. Although many elders visit a primary care provider, the problem frequently is overlooked or misdiagnosed. We have found that primary care-based nursing is an effective treatment for older adults with alcoholism. In this article, we introduce the BRENDA model and show its effectiveness in retaining older adults in treatment. BRENDA involves biopsychosocial assessment, reporting the assessment to the patient, an empathetic approach, identified and stated patient needs, direct advice to stop or decrease alcohol consumption, and assessment of the compliance with or outcome of the direct advice. We also describe the utility of the BRENDA model for the pharmacotherapeutic treatment of addiction in late life.

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