Navigation Links
New Guidelines Say Doctors Should Screen All Adults for 'Risky' Drinking

By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, May 13 (HealthDay News) -- Primary care doctors should screen all adults for drinking problems, and offer them counseling if needed, new guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force suggest.

Based on years of research, there is enough evidence that a quick screen at the doctor's office can spot "risky" drinking, according to the task force, an independent panel of medical experts that makes recommendations on screening and other preventive health services.

The new guidelines, published online May 14 in the Annals of Internal Medicine, are the panel's "final" recommendations on screening for problem drinking. The last recommendations came out in 2004.

Since then, more research has been conducted, explained task force member Dr. Michael LeFevre, a professor of family and community medicine at the University of Missouri School of Medicine in Columbia.

In particular, LeFevre said, there's evidence that doctors can catch risky drinking by asking just one question: How many times in the past year have you had five or more drinks in a day (if you're a man), or four or more drinks (if you're a woman or older than 65)?

If a patient acknowledges drinking that much, the doctor can ask more questions to see how deep the problem goes.

An alcohol abuse expert not involved in the recommendations said the advice to screen all adults is "right on."

"It's very well-supported by the literature," said Dr. Marc Schuckit, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, and editor of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

The updated recommendations also clarify what doctors should be looking for: the full range of what the task force calls alcohol "misuse."

That ranges from "risky" drinking, where people down more alcohol than they should, to the more severe problems of alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. Dependence involves a physical addiction to alcohol, while alcohol abuse means that drinking causes problems in people's personal and work lives.

LeFevre said there's good evidence that brief counseling from a primary care doctor -- even a single session of five to 15 minutes -- can be enough to get people to cut down on their drinking.

"Brief interventions are effective for people who are at the risky-drinking stage," LeFevre said. However, people with more serious drinking problems will likely need more help, or referral to a specialist program, he added.

Alcohol misuse is a common problem, Schuckit said. An estimated 21 percent of U.S. adults admit to risky drinking, while about 4 percent are thought to have full-blown alcohol dependence, according to the task force. Problem drinking is also blamed for more than 85,000 deaths each year in the United States, which makes it the third-leading cause of preventable deaths behind smoking and obesity.

"In my opinion, all clinicians should be screening for alcohol problems and offering brief interventions," Schuckit said.

He and LeFevre said any primary care doctor can learn brief counseling techniques. These might include helping patients find healthy ways to reduce stress or set goals for curbing their drinking.

When it comes to teenagers, though, the task force said there is not enough evidence to recommend routine screening.

"We don't know enough," LeFevre said. "We can't assume that what we've found to work for adults also works for kids." There's no agreement, for example, on whether there's a "safe" level of drinking for a teenager, he said. So would doctors have to intervene with all teens who admitted to any amount of drinking?

"We are not saying that adolescent drinking is an issue doctors should ignore. It is a problem," LeFevre said. "This is really a call to the research community that we need more evidence [on screening teenagers]."

The American Academy of Pediatrics disagrees, however. It recommends that doctors ask all adolescent patients about their drinking habits.

More information

Learn more about problem drinking from the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

SOURCES: Michael LeFevre, M.D., professor, family and community medicine, University of Missouri School of Medicine, Columbia; Marc Schuckit, M.D., professor, psychiatry, University of California, San Diego; May 14, 2013 Annals of Internal Medicine, online

Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Fresh Healthy Vending Supports Washington State New Guidelines for Healthier Vending
2. New, essential Guidelines for decision-making on treatment and end-of-life care
3. New Canadian guidelines for treating fibromyalgia
4. Pediatricians Endorse New Acne Treatment Guidelines
5. Most Docs Dont Follow ADHD Treatment Guidelines for Preschoolers: Study
6. Urologists Group Issues Updated Guidelines on PSA Test
7. 90% of Pediatric Specialists Not Following Clinical Guidelines When Treating Preschoolers with ADHD
8. 90 percent of pediatric specialists not following clinical guidelines when treating preschoolers with ADHD
9. CPR hands-only guidelines may not be best for rural areas
10. ATS publishes clinical practice guidelines on exercise-induced bronchoconstriction
11. New Guidelines Suggest HIV Screening for All Adults
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
New Guidelines Say Doctors Should Screen All Adults for 'Risky' Drinking
(Date:11/28/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Beginning November 30th at 6:00 a.m. EST until 11:59 p.m. EST, ... savings of up to 20% off orders $80 or more to free gifts with purchases, ... hours. , As a competitive e-commerce website for skin care and cosmetic needs, customers will ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... , ... According to an article published November 13th on, ... D.C. revolved around the fact that proper dental care, both at-home and in the ... between periodontal disease (more commonly referred to as gum disease) and diabetes. According to ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 27, 2015 , ... The rapid speed at which Americans ... more care is needed, especially with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other cognitive conditions becoming ... The forgotten part of this equation: 80 percent of medical care occurs in ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... "When ... said an inventor from Hillside, N.J. "Many people catch diseases simply from sitting ... individuals will always be protected from germs." , He developed the patent-pending QUDRATECS ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... ProSidebar: Fashion is a set of ... With ProSidebar: Fasion, video editors can easily add an informative sidebar to any FCPX ... Utilize presets featuring self-animating drop zones, lines, bars, and text with the ease ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/29/2015)... Royal Philips  (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) revealed a portfolio ... Society of North America Annual Meeting (RSNA), beginning today ... Chicago . Visitors to the Philips booth ... integrated Diagnostic Imaging, Clinical Informatics, Image Guided Therapy and ... and create a superior patient experience. ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... Une nouvelle approche consistant ... contre le cancer avancé.    --> ... au traitement photodynamique au Bremachlorin contre le cancer ... nouvelle approche consistant à combiner l,immunothérapie au traitement ...    Clinical Cancer Research . ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... Nov. 26, 2015 ... of the "2016 Global Tumor Marker ... Volume and Sales Segment Forecasts, Innovative Technologies, ... report to their offering. --> ... the "2016 Global Tumor Marker Testing ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: