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Study: Doctors aren’t doing enough to curb excessive drinking

A new analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that physicians are not spending enough time discussing the harmful effects of alcohol abuse with their patients. According to the report, only one in six adults have ever discussed drinking with a doctor or other medical professional.

More alarmingly, only about one-third of self-admitted binge drinkers have ever had a serious talk with their doctor about their substance abuse problem. Excessive drinking can cause various health problems, so it is necessary for doctors to bring up this subject, according to CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden. 

"Counseling for no more than 15 minutes can result in a substantial reduction in problem drinking," Dr. Frieden said during a press conference. "It should be a part of routine patient care. In the same way we screen for high blood pressure and high cholesterol, we should be screening for excess alcohol use and treating patients appropriately."

The CDC defines problem drinking as: 

  • Any drinking by pregnant women or anyone under the age of 21
  • Consuming five or more alcoholic beverages in one sitting for men and four for women
  • Having 15 or more drinks a week for men and eight for women. 

More than 88,000 Americans die each year as a result of binge drinking. In addition to contributing to health problems such as heart disease, it also increases rates of automobile crashes and violent behavior. In the study, the CDC suggested that more open conversations with medical professionals could reduce alcohol consumption by 25 percent. 

Don't let alcohol abuse damage the life of a loved one. Contact Intervention Services today to learn how an alcohol interventionist can get your friend or relative into an effective treatment program. 

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