Seven minutes of physician counseling can curtail drinking and save lives

Problem drinkers who end up in hospital emergency departments are more likely to curtail their binge drinking and overall alcohol consumption if they receive physician counseling on the spot — even just seven minutes of it — and are less likely to drive under the influence. The study by physicians at Yale School of Medicine appears in Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Researchers looked at nearly 900 department patients with harmful drinking problems. They found that those who received brief counseling sessions from a trained emergency practitioner subsequently had significantly lower rates of and driving after drinking than those who didn’t.

The study also found that these short interventions by emergency practitioners continued to affect the lives of patients even a year after the counseling.

Dr. Gail D’Onofrio, chair of emergency medicine at Yale School of Medicine, said, “So many of the tragedies we see in the emergency department are due to problem . Our study shows that brief counseling of patients can improve outcomes and have a life-saving impact.”

Other authors are David Fiellin, Michael Pantalon, Marek Chawarski, Patricia Owens, Linda Degutis (now at the Centers for Disease Control), Susan Busch, Steven Bernstein, and Patrick O’Connor of Yale School of Medicine.

The study was funded by a grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Heart attacks, other emergencies spike during holidays

Dec 21, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- During his 23-year career, the medical director of the UCSF Emergency Department has done everything from treat traumatic injuries to deliver babies. While medical emergencies occur throughout ...

Recommended for you

Immunotherapy inhibits heroin effects in research animals

Jan 20, 2015

Immunotherapy could have a place in the treatment of substance abuse in the future. A specific antibody can reduce the acute effects of heroin, according to a new experimental study at the Norwegian Institute ...

Opinion: Will legal marijuana lead to more addicts?

Jan 14, 2015

At present, cannabis is fully legalized in Colorado and Washington and will soon be fully legalized in Oregon and Alaska. Additionally, medical cannabis is legal in 23 states. The writing is on the wall that more and more states are going to legal ...

Alcohol warnings from parents matter

Jan 08, 2015

Parenting practices and restrictions when it comes to alcohol use can make a difference with adolescent drinking, and there is considerable value to consistent and sustained parental attitudes about drinking, ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.