Text Messages, Brief Interventions May Curb Binge Drinking

sbirtA program is being tested to reduce the amount of people that binge drink, specifically under aged drinkers. As the results come in from the study it appears that by engaging with drinkers via text message, clinicians were able to curb the amount of people that report binge drinking by 50 percent. The study is being published in Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Some hospitals throughout the country are beginning to intervene more on a patient’s behalf when binge drinking traits are noticed. Bedside interventions are being implemented in hospitals on the east coast. Physicians and mental health professionals that are alerted to indications that a person may be participating in dangerous binge drinking are called in to discuss the risks associated with binge drinking. They also provide treatment options and referral if the person is willing. The ER is a good place to screen young adults for alcohol abuse because most patients are willing to talk to an ER doctor and are honest about their consumption.

This study is taking medical intervention a step further. After gathering 765 participants who have all exhibited binge drinking traits, the hospital set up text messages for the drinkers. Those conducting the study divided the participants up into three groups.

The first group received text messages in question form regarding their alcohol intake and then feedback depending on the answers that were submitted. The second group of participants received only questions about the alcohol intake and no feedback. The third group did not receive any text messages at all. The researchers found that those that received questions and feedback reduced their binge drinking by 51 percent and their daily drinks by 31 percent.

The study also aims to dispel some myths associated with binge drinking. Most people assume that college students are the main culprits of binge drinking, but reports indicate that adults aged 26 and older are actually the group that binge drinks the most. Under-aged drinkers were also studied and it was found that 90 percent of under-aged drinkers participate in binge drinking.

The text messaging program will hopefully be implemented in emergency rooms throughout the United States.

Mike Loverde

With firsthand experience with addiction, Mike Loverde is now a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP), as accredited by the Association of Intervention Specialists and the Pennsylvania Certification Board. He founded Family First Intervention in 2008 and has since helped hundreds of families find intervention and addiction rehabilitation solutions.

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