Clinical and Demographic Characteristics of Binge Drinkers Associated with Lack of Efficacy of Brief Intervention and Medical Advice

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Brief Counseling Intervention (BCI) and Medical advice (MA) are psychotherapeutic approaches used for the treatment of binge drinkers in Primary Care. Although binge drinking is a common pattern of alcohol misuse in Europe and in the US, no studies have evaluated those subjects who do not respond to Brief Counseling Interventions or Medical Advice. Objective. To determine the clinical and demographic characteristics of binge drinkers in whom BCI or MA are not effective in reducing harmful alcohol use. Methods. This is a secondary analysis of data from a randomized alcohol brief intervention trial with a 12-month follow-up period. A total of 674 subjects (89%) participated right through to the end of the study. The primary outcome measure was change in harmful alcohol use from baseline to 12 months. Results. The strongest baseline predictors of harmful alcohol use during follow-up were educational status, young adults, and high number of cigarettes smoked, present family history of alcoholism, treatment condition and number of drinks per episode of binge drinking. Conclusions. Binge drinkers are a heterogeneous group that responds to brief intervention or MA but in a subgroup of them these interventions fail to prevent harmful alcohol use. Other interventions should be implemented for these subjects.
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