Doctors Don’t Warn Alcoholics About Dangers of Drinking, CDC reports


American doctors are not doing enough to reduce excess alcohol use, according to a latest report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The health practitioners don't even talk about the effects of alcohol with patients.

The CDC report that focused on both non-alcoholics and binge drinkers (alcoholics) stated that communicating the fallouts of drinking to patients can help reduce alcoholism in the country, significantly.

"The goal here is not to tell people to never have another drink," Dr. Tom Frieden, CDC director, said. "The health system is not doing an effective job finding out about these health problems," NPR reports.

The report was based on data accumulated from questionnaires of about 166, 753 adults. The participants from 44 states and the District of Columbia (DC) reported communication levels with their doctors about alcohol from August 1 to December 31, 2011.

The report revealed that only one in six adults and only one in four binge drinkers had a conversation with their doctor about alcohol use.

Excess alcohol use is associated with several health and social problems - heart disease, breast cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, motor-vehicle crashes, and violence.

 "Drinking too much alcohol has many more health risks than most people realize," Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., said in a statement. "Alcohol screening and brief counseling can help people set realistic goals for themselves and achieve those goals. Health care workers can provide this service to more patients and involve communities to help people avoid dangerous levels of drinking."

According to CDC, about 38 million adults in the United States drink heavily. Every year, heavy alcohol consumption accounts for 88,000 deaths in the United States.

CDC urges doctors and health professionals to engage in a conversation of a minimum of 10 or 15 minutes on the topic.

"It may be going from six drinks on a Friday night to three or four," Frieden said. "It might mean spacing them out, or having something to drink besides alcohol."

The finding has been published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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