As screening for alcohol problems during doctor visits has become more mainstream, a new study published in the journal Addiction finds that the technique does not increase successful referrals to alcohol counseling and treatment.
Screening has been promoted for decades because only 6 percent of people who struggle with alcohol seek help in any year, says study author Joseph Glass, assistant professor of social work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an expert on alcohol addiction and treatment. "That's mainly because they don't think they need help at all."
Doctors, Glass says, "have been encouraged to use basic conversational techniques, to spend five or 10 minutes to ask about drinking and talk about ways they could reduce it....
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