According to one study, brief one-on-one discussions about alcohol consumption in a doctor’s office can reduce patients’ drinking levels.
The findings, published in the journal Addiction, showed that brief interventions, defined as conversations lasting less than an hour and aimed at motivating changes in a patient’s risky drinking behavior, resulted in a reduction of one drinking day per month.
“Reducing one drinking day per month may not sound like much, but small individual reductions can contribute to a significant reduction in population-level harms,” said Emily Tanner-Smith, lead author and associate professor at the University of Oregon. A newsletter published Thursday on EurekAlert.
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The study authors noted that the findings were insufficient for brief interventions delivered in the emergency room and trauma centers, but were effective when performed in general medical settings such as the primary care clinic.
D., who was not involved in the study, is director of psychological services at the Long Island University (LIU) Post in New York. “Brief interventions have been shown to help with many health issues,” DJ Moran told Fox News. “Alcohol abuse in primary care settings may be affected if the general practitioner takes the time to perform this type of intervention.”
General medical settings may be ideal, according to the study, because they offer significant opportunities to screen for alcohol and drug use in patients of varying ages who are not receiving treatment in the clinic for a wide variety of other medical conditions.
The study included a systematic review and meta-analysis of data from 116 studies and a total of 64,439 participants. He investigated the effectiveness of brief interventions for alcohol and other drug use in a variety of medical settings.
According to the authors, the process behind brief interventions includes screening patients to identify unhealthy use and then a discussion targeting the level of substance abuse determined before referral to treatment or other substance-related services.
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“If effective, these interventions offer a potentially cost-effective method for addressing unhealthy substance use, particularly among patients who are not receiving treatment,” the study authors wrote.
However, the report noted that there is limited evidence for the effects of drug-targeted brief interventions on drug use.
“Given their brevity, low cost, and minimal clinician effort, brief interventions can be a promising way to reduce alcohol use, one patient at a time,” Tanner-Smith wrote in the publication.