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Incorporating Alcohol Pharmacotherapies into Medical Practice: A Treatment Improvement Protocol
Eric C. Strain (ed)
Many health problems or mental disorders that healthcare practitioners(particularly those in primary care) encounter in their everyday practices derive from or are complicated by alcohol use disorders (AUDs). Consequently, healthcare practitioners are in key positions to manage the care of large numbers of individuals with AUDs. However, only a small percentage of these patients are actually treated for AUDs in these settings. The U.S. Food and Drug Admin. (FDA) has approved four medications to treat AUDs which make treatment in primary care and other general medical settings a viable adjunct or alternative to specialty care, with many potential advantages. Direct intervention by healthcare practitioners to treat AUDs is both possible and practical. Screening for and providing brief interventions to treat AUDs in general medical settings promote healthy life choices and increase the likelihood of recovery, especially for patients who have not yet progressed to chronic alcohol dependence, those with comorbid medical disorders being treated in these settings, and those who otherwise would not seek or receive treatment for their AUDs. Interventions in primary care provide an opportunity to educate and motivate patients who are alcohol dependent and need long-term care to consider a specialty substance abuse treatment program. Helping patients with AUDs can be gratifying; few interventions in medicine can lead to such substantial improvement in individual and public health. This TIP provides a resource to assist the health-care provider in this effort. Figures.
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