Updated Guide Offers Clinicians New Tools to Help Patients with Alcohol Problems
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has updated a guide that provides tools that can be used by clinicians help patients with alcohol problems
Schmalfeldt: Research shows that many folks suffering from alcohol dependence do not have access to specialty treatment or, if they do have access, choose not to take advantage of it. That's why the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has updated a guide that provides tools that can be used by clinicians help patients with alcohol problems. According to Dr. Mark Willenbring, Director of the NIAAA Division of Treatment and Recovery, this updated guide includes handouts with strategies doctors, nurses and other health care providers can use to help patients cut down on drinking or quit altogether, and imformation about a newly approved, injectable drug used to treat alcohol dependence.
Willenbring: What we're doing right now is to expand access to some effective treatments in these non-addiction specialty settings. We know from research now that alcohol dependence can be treated successfully in a primary care like setting.
Schmalfeldt: Dr. Willenbring said this update provides clinicians with additional tools to help make that occur.
Willenbring: In particular, what we're excited about is something called Medication Management Support. Like with many other chronic illnesses, alcohol dependence treatment with medications only works if it involves active management on the part of their providers. And the same holds true with depression or diabetes or high blood pressure or any of these things " some kind of disease management that is active, follow-up with a focus on adhereing to the medication, encouraging the patients to make lifestyle changes is very important to the success of any treatment.
Schmalfeldt: The guide and related materials are available online at www.niaaa.nih.gov/guide. From the National Institutes of Health, I'm Bill Schmalfeldt in Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Bill Schmalfeldt
Sound Bite: Dr. Mark Willenbring