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January 2019

Screening and Brief Behavioral Counseling Interventions to Reduce Unhealthy Alcohol Use in Adults 18 Years and Older, Including Pregnant Women

Author Affiliations
  • 1University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, La Jolla
JAMA Psychiatry. 2019;76(1):5-6. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.3278

This editorial offers thoughts about the 2018 update1 of the 2013 recommendation statement regarding screening and behavioral counseling for unhealthy alcohol use in adults and adolescents and the updated evidence report and systematic review2 issued by the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and published in this week’s issue of JAMA. The USPSTF recommends screening for unhealthy alcohol use in primary care settings in adults 18 years or older, including pregnant women, and providing persons engaged in risky or hazardous drinking with brief behavioral counseling interventions to reduce unhealthy alcohol use (B recommendation). The official recommendation statement also discusses these issues in pregnant women and adolescents, but my commentary focuses on adults in general because recommendations regarding pregnancy are similar to adults (with the addition of absolute abstinence during pregnancy), and issues regarding adolescent drinkers are commented on elsewhere.3 The original recommendations are aimed at primary care settings, but the material seems equally appropriate for psychiatrists.

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