April 7, 2012

A 7-minute ER counseling session is enough to curb patient alcohol abuse

It turns out, when it comes to alcohol abuse, even the littlest bit of intervention helps.

A study has found that those with drinking problems who receive counseling from an emergency room physician are more likely to reduce their alcohol consumption. And those ER doctors can also help deter drinkers from driving under the influence.

According to HealthDay, Dr. Gail D’Onofrio, of the Yale University of Medicine and lead study author, says the intervention only has to last for seven minutes and the effects can betters the patients’ lives for up to nearly 12 months later.

“This shows that sometimes what emergency physicians say has as great an impact on our patients as what we do,” D’Onofrio tells HealthDay.

The study, which was published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, found that patients who did receive 7-minute counseling from an ER doctor reduced their average number of drinks from roughly 20 per week to 12 in about six months.

And a year after that intervention, those patients were still drinking less than when they first saw the ER doctor, but slightly more than the months after the intervention at about 14 drinks per week.

DUI rates were also less in the patients that received the seven minute intervention, the study found. Drinking and driving rates dropped from 38 percent to 29 percent.

Click here to read the full article on HealthDay.

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