Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hospital interventions for medical inpatients with unhealthy drinking behaviors

Date:
May 4, 2010
Source:
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research
Summary:
Medical inpatients often demonstrate unhealthy drinking practices. A new study on the effectiveness of hospital interventions has found that focusing on alcohol-attributable illnesses may serve as the strongest catalyst for changing drinking habits.

Unhealthy drinking practices are often seen among medical inpatients. While hospitalization is regarded by some as a "teachable moment" for motivating patients to decrease drinking, studies of brief hospital-based interventions have not always found decreases. New findings show that focusing on alcohol-related illnesses may make hospital interventions more effective.

Results will be published in the July 2010 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

The qualities of a "teachable moment" are complicated, said Emily C. Williams, research project director at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System and corresponding author for the study. "On one hand, it may be the first time that a patient realizes that their drinking is responsible for a very serious illness or event requiring acute hospital care," she said. "On the other hand, there are people who continue to drink heavily despite knowing the consequences associated with it. For the former group, hospitalization may serve as a strong impetus of change whereas, for the latter group, hospitalization may be met with a neutral attitude (or worse) toward change."

This is an important issue to address because of the large number of patients and substantial healthcare resources that are involved, added Daniel Kivlahan, director of the Center of Excellence in Substance Abuse Treatment and Education at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System, and associate professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington.

"Most providers in inpatient medical settings will see patients similar to those sampled for this study, and we need more evidence about better ways to recognize and address the clinical needs of this diverse group of patients," said Kivlahan. "Hospitalizations need to be considered part of the continuum of integrated healthcare with implications for post-hospital follow-up, rather than isolated events."

Researchers recruited 341 adult medical inpatients from a university medical center (242 men, 99 women) -- who self-reported "risky drinking" during the previous month -- based on their initial hospital screening. Participants were then enrolled in a randomized trial of brief alcohol counseling, and interviews were conducted at enrollment as well as three months after hospitalization. Information on five measures of physical health was gathered, and compared to two outcomes: abstinence and number of heavy drinking days three months later.

"We found that among inpatients with unhealthy alcohol use whose drinking is less severe -- those not dependent on alcohol and those reporting low levels of problem perception -- alcohol-attributable illness may serve as a strong catalyst of changes in drinking," said Williams. "As such, alcohol-attributable illnesses could become a focus of hospital-based brief counseling interventions.

"This study provides an important alert to providers that they should not assume that patients recognize a link between their alcohol use and their alcohol-related medical diagnoses," said Kivlahan. "Although most patients may be aware of this link that is typically obvious to providers, a small subset of patients may benefit from having it addressed directly during the hospitalization."

Both Williams and Kivlahan noted the relevance of these findings for helping providers recognize a need for conversation about ways to improve hospital-based brief interventions for patients with unhealthy alcohol use.

"This study offers suggestions regarding the content of hospital-based brief interventions," said Williams. "If physical health is important to the patient, and they see the connection between physical health and their drinking, counseling interventions that make sure to include covering such topics could make the interventions more effective. Also, if the patient links his/her drinking with his/her physical health, they may be willing to follow-up with care in settings where medical and alcohol care are integrated, which could lead to improved outcomes."

"For clinicians, it is worth noting that most of these patients at risk due to unhealthy alcohol use did not have alcohol-attributable medical diagnoses, and only 15 percent had such a diagnosis listed as the primary reason for admission," said Kivlahan. "Further, even though more than one in five reported abstinence at a three-month follow-up, this was not reliably associated with self-reported worse health after other explanatory variables were considered. Thus, we can see that medical hospitalization is not a sufficient factor to eliminate heavy drinking for many patients. We need to replicate these results under circumstances more similar to clinical practice and with larger samples in the subgroups of interest."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Emily C. Williams, Tibor Palfai, Debbie M. Cheng, Jeffrey H. Samet, Katharine A. Bradley, Thomas D. Koepsell, Thomas M. Wickizer, Patrick J. Heagerty, Richard Saitz. Physical Health and Drinking among Medical Inpatients with Unhealthy Alcohol Use: A Prospective Study. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, 2010; DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2010.01203.x

Cite This Page:

Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. "Hospital interventions for medical inpatients with unhealthy drinking behaviors." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100504162809.htm>.
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. (2010, May 4). Hospital interventions for medical inpatients with unhealthy drinking behaviors. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100504162809.htm
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. "Hospital interventions for medical inpatients with unhealthy drinking behaviors." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100504162809.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins