Just seven minutes curbs alcohol abuse
If someone ends up in a hospital’s emergency department (ED) with signs of harmful drinking habits, as few as seven minutes of counseling by a physician can motivate them to cut back their alcohol consumption, says a new study by Yale researchers.
On average, the nearly 900 patients enrolled in the study, published in an advance online edition of Annals of Emergency Medicine, consumed around 20 drinks in the week prior to visiting the ed. When the researchers followed up a year later, that number had decreased to 17 drinks per week for patients with no interventions and to 14 for those who received counseling in the hospital. Moreover, the counseled patients reported fewer binge drinking episodes than those who received no counseling. Patients in the intervention group were also less likely to drive after having three or more drinks.“A short intervention has great potential to increase the health of the public,” says Gail D’Onofrio, M.D., M.S., professor and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine and leader of the new study.