ER Interventions Reduce Drinking Damage

By Valerie Tejeda 05/02/12

Even brief on-the-spot counseling from emergency room doctors cuts future binge drinking and drunk driving, researchers find.

Alcohol is implicated in huge numbers of ER
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Spending as little seven minutes with a doctor for on-the-spot emergency room counseling may help curb your dangerous drinking, according to a new study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine. Researchers from Yale University observed around 900 emergency room patients with harmful drinking habits—some of whom received brief counseling sessions after they showed up. They found that those who were counseled were less likely to continue to binge drink or to drive under the influence again. The study was funded by a grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “So many of the tragedies we see in the emergency department are due to problem drinking,” says Gail D’Onofrio, MD, chair of emergency medicine at Yale School of Medicine. “Our study shows that brief counseling of patients can improve outcomes and have a life-saving impact." The patients who received the on-the-spot counseling interventions were found to continue with their healthier habits—even one year later.

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Entertainment journalist and author Valerie Tejeda spends her days reporting on books, television, and all things pertaining to pop culture, and spends her nights writing novels for teens. Her stories have appeared on a variety of different publications, including but not limited to: VanityFair, MTV, The Huffington Post, TeenVogue, She Knows, Latina, The Fix,, Cosmopolitan, and more. You can find Valerie on Linkedin and Twitter.