Treatment for alcohol dependent women

Date Commenced:
Expected Date of Completion:
Project Supporters:

Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE)

Drug Type:
image - T79
Project Members
image - 1314150062 Hutchinson Delyse 12
V-C's Post-Doctoral Res Fellow
Ph 02 9385 0148
image - 1314149058 Courtney Breen 002
Research Fellow
Ph 02 9385 0282
Project Collaborators: External

Dr Deborah Loxton (Women's Health Australia, Research Centre for Gender Health and Ageing, University of Newcastle)

Ms Jennifer Powers (Research Centre for Gender Health and Ageing, University of Newcastle)

Ms Sue Miers (National Organisation for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Related Disorders - NOFASARD)

Dr Adrian Dunlop (Area Director; Hunter and New England Drug and Alcohol Services)

Project Main Description

Alcohol exposure in utero can cause a range of abnormalities in the fetus which are included under the umbrella term Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). Identification and treatment of problem drinking prior to and during pregnancy is recognised as an effective strategy for prevention. However, only a small proportion of pregnant women who drink at problematic levels are identified and treated. There are a variety of reasons for women not to access treatment including a lack of services, attributing their problems to mental health rather than alcohol use and issues relating to their personal situation (children or partner).  Given the changing patterns of alcohol consumption and harm by women, attention must be paid to the way gender stereotypes influence the prevention and treatment of alcohol related problems.


To gain information from stakeholders (alcohol dependent women and clinicians that care for alcohol dependent pregnant women) on barriers to treatment.

To produce a resource for clinicians about the management of alcohol dependence in pregnancy.

Design and Method

The project comprises three components:

  1. a literature review of alcohol use in pregnancy
  2. a qualitative survey of clinicians who work with alcohol dependent women
  3. a qualitative survey of alcohol dependent pregnant women

2011 saw the initiation of the literature review, ethics submission and questionnaire development. Ethics approval was obtained.

In 2012 the literature review was completed and interviews commenced. 

The final report was published in November 2013 (see 'Resources' below).


Guidelines for clinicians treating alcohol dependent women.


Improving the detection and treatment for alcohol dependent women will reduce preventable FASD.

Project Supporters

Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE)

Project Research Area
Drug Type
Project Status
Back to Top