Newswise — Psychologists who are trained and experienced in treating alcohol problems can play an important role in treatment of both the affected individual as well as his or her family. This insight and others will be shared at the 41st annual scientific meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA) in San Diego June 17-21.

“We are living in an integrated health world,” said Jaime Diaz-Granados, chief education officer at the American Psychological Association and also research professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor University. “Psychologists are a part of an array of healthcare professionals that is necessary to support and promote the health of individuals, families and communities.”

Diaz-Granados will provide his comments during a roundtable at the RSA meeting on June 17.

“Addictions are biopsychosocial in nature,” he noted, “reflecting the involvement of biological, psychological, and social factors – including culture – in the development of problems as well as the means to treat the problems. The high prevalence and co-occurrence of mental disorders and alcohol use disorders (AUDs) make it likely that any clinician – whether psychologist, physician or nurse – will see patients with alcohol problems which, if left untreated, can hamper interventions as well as treatment.”

Diaz-Granados recommended that healthcare administrators monitor and support education and training in alcohol assessment, diagnosis, and treatment in psychology training programs. “Education and training in psychology brings with it a critical understanding of learning, habit formation, behavior change, and importantly, the neurobehavioral bases that underlie these,” he said. “This is a strong foundation upon which to build knowledge and skills to treat alcohol problems. These would include models and theories of addiction, evidence-based interventions, screening for AUDs, and referral skills.”

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Diaz-Granados will present “Preparing clinical psychologists for the real world: Essential knowledge about alcohol” during the RSA 2018 meeting on Sunday, June 17 as part of a roundtable session called “Alcohol and health: Essential knowledge for health professionals” beginning at 10:00 a.m. at the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego.