Alcohol misuse and people with Learning Disabilities living in the community. Results of the EBI-LD study

First published: 10 May 2019 | Last updated: 20 May 2019


In this project we wanted to find out whether Brief Intervention (BI), can be adapted and used effectively with people with mild to moderate learning disabilities (LD). This is the first ever study of alcohol intervention for people with LD.


This study was in three stages: 1) Adaptation of the intervention; Extended Brief Intervention (EBI); 2) A single blind randomised controlled trial to compare EBI and usual care versus usual care only; 3) A qualitative study to examine what service users and carers thought of EBI.


The intervention consisted of 5 weekly sessions of 30 minutes duration with a review session of 60 minutes offered at week 8. Therapists were recruited from local LD services, were trained and supervised regularly. Thirty people were recruited (15 each group). Recruitment into the study was proven challenging, mainly due to lower than expected number of people having drinking problem. Results showed both groups have reduced their drinking, without any significant difference between them. The consensus from the qualitative interviews with participants and carers was largely positive.


Identification of appropriate cases was a major challenge for this study. This is consistent with the experience of a previous lifestyle trial (shape-up LD, NIHR RfPB funded) and confirms the importance and potential advantage of adding a short survey and education period prior to a feasibility trial. It could be argued that even brief screening for alcohol (control group) is potentially effective in reducing the severity of alcohol consumption for this population.

Katrina Scior, Department of Clinical, Research Educational & Health Psychology, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, WC1E 6BT, London, UK. (Dr K. Scior PhD) Gianluca Baio, Department of Statistical Science, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London, WC1E 6BT, UK. (Dr G. Baio PhD). Rachael Hunter, Department of Primary Care and Population Health Research, University College London, Royal Free Hospital Rowland Hill Street, NW3 2PF, London, UK. (Dr R. Hunter PhD). Vittoria Pezzoni, Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Woodside Road, Abbots Langley, Watford, WD5 0HT, UK. (Dr V. Pezzoni PhD). Angela Hassiotis Division of Psychiatry, University College London, Charles Bell House, 67-73 Riding House Street, W1W 7EJ, London, UK. (Prof. A. Hassiotis PhD).
Conflicts of interest:
Funding Sources: RfPB PB-PG-1111-26022

No conflict of interest

Dr Christos Kouimtsidis