Brief Intervention by Doctors Can Reduce Alcohol Use in Postpartum Women

A recent study showed that brief interventions in the doctor’s office can reduce alcohol use in postpartum women. In the study, 8,706 women were screened at their 6-week postpartum doctor visit. The women were given either “usual care,”  defined as “receipt of a booklet on general health issues but no specific counseling,” or brief intervention. The intervention included 2 15-minute counseling visits with a nurse or obstetrician, each 1 month apart, and a follow-up phone call 2 weeks after each visit.

The goal of the study was to determine whether the postpartum period is an effective time to counsel women about alcohol use. The results showed that women receiving the brief intervention had significant reductions in alcohol use both in number of drinks consumed (14.2 drink reduction versus 5.1) and in number of heavy drink days, defined as 4 or more drinks per day (1.8 day reduction versus 0.5).

Read more about the study

These findings illustrate the positive impact a brief intervention by a doctor or nurse in the office setting can truly have. Reductions in alcohol and drug use have consistently been shown in other studies using brief interventions with problem drinkers, opiate users and other populations.

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