The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has released
a new guide for health care practitioners to help them identify
and care for patients with heavy drinking and alcohol use disorders. Helping
Patients Who Drink Too Much is now available free online at www.niaaa.nih.gov and
in print, with a pocket version included.
The 2005 guide provides a research-based approach to alcohol screening
and brief intervention for both primary care and mental health
clinicians. It updates earlier NIAAA guidelines, which focused
solely on primary care providers and used a lengthier screening
the new guide, alcohol screening is simplified to a single question
about heavy drinking days. If a patient drinks heavily (5 or more
drinks in a day for men; 4 or more for women), the guide shows
how to assess for symptoms of alcohol abuse or dependence. Whether
the patient has an alcohol use disorder or is a heavy, at-risk
drinker, the guide offers streamlined, step-by-step advice for
conducting brief interventions and managing patient care.
The guide's target audience now includes mental health clinicians
because alcohol use disorders are more common in mental health
patients than in the general population.
Print copies of the guide can be ordered through NIAAA at (301)
443-3860 or downloaded from the NIAAA web site above. For training,
a PowerPoint slide show on the guide will be posted on the web
site in the near future.