• Screening & Counseling Interventions Help Reduce Risky Drinking

    The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening for alcohol misuse and brief behavioral counseling interventions to help adults aged 18 and older with risky or hazardous drinking reduce their alcohol intake. The task force’s draft recommendation is based on an evidence report by researchers from the Research Triangle Institute – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (RTI-UNC) Evidence-based Practice Center.

    Alcohol misuse includes “risky/hazardous” and “harmful” drinking that places individuals at risk for future problems. Alcohol misuse is a leading cause of preventable mortality in the United States and contributes to a variety of health conditions including hypertension, liver problems, anxiety, depression, breast cancer, insomnia, injuries, and more.

    According to Dr. Dan Jonas, co-director of the RTI-UNC Evidence-based Practice Center and lead author of the study, “Behavioral interventions for unhealthy alcohol use generally aim to moderate an individual’s alcohol consumption to sensible levels and to eliminate risky drinking practices, rather than to achieve complete abstinence.”

    The researchers found that adults receiving behavioral counseling were less likely to engage in heavy or binge drinking than those who did not receive counseling (12% reduction). Participants who received counseling also averaged 3.6 fewer drinks per week than those who did not receive counseling and were more likely to limit drinking to the recommended drinking levels over a one-year period.

    Screening for alcohol consumption among patients in primary care settings also brings many potential benefits. There are several effective screening tools currently available for gauging alcohol use. Alcohol screening tests for example can be utilized to detect the presence of alcohol in one’s system.  This provides an opportunity to educate individuals about low-risk consumption levels and the risks of excessive alcohol use. Screening also offers the opportunity for practitioners to take preventative measures that have proven effective in reducing alcohol-related risks. TestCountry’s alcohol detectors are perfect for testing for alcohol consumption and intoxication in many different venues, from counseling programs, to home use, to job site detection.

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