For People Who Drink Heavily, Alcohol Consumption Decreases after a Health-Care Visit without Brief Intervention
In many studies of alcohol brief intervention (BI), the effects of BI delivered at what are thought to be “teachable moments” are dwarfed by the decreases in consumption seen in both intervention and control groups. Investigators followed general-practice outpatients and general hospital inpatients identified by screening as having unhealthy alcohol use* for 12 months. These patients were BI randomized trial participants who were in the control groups and thus did not receive the intervention.
- At 1 year, half (or fewer) were either abstinent or drinking <30 g alcohol per day for men or <20 g per day for women. Lower risk consumption was more common in inpatients (50%) than in outpatients (26%).
- Receipt of alcohol-related treatment or advice during the year (18–29% received some form of treatment) was not associated with changes in consumption at follow-up.
*Drinking risky amounts (20/30 g alcohol daily) or meeting DSM-IV criteria for abuse or dependence.