Brief advice good enough

Sahoo Saddichha, Partner,
October 20, 2008

The review by Havard and colleagues [1] does not take into account the fact that brief advice, either oral or written, is good enough to bring about behavioral change. To have such a group as the control group is self-defeating. In fact, in an emergency department (ED) setting, where both emotions and tension run high, it would be futile to try and attempt other time-consuming interventions such as motivational interviewing and pharmacological treatment. An ideal form of treatment is therefore the Brief advice. As the commentary [2] observes, brief interventions are sufficient to reduce the negative health consequences, such as alcohol related injuries in this group. I believe that such patients may also be amenable to further behavioral changes in order to prevent development of alcohol dependence by proper identification of "at-risk" individuals. This can be done by enquiring for craving, tolerance and loss of control [3] which can prove beneficial to these problem and pre-dependent drinkers [4].


1)Havard A, Shakeshaft A, Sanson-Fisher R. Systematic review and meta -analyses of strategies targeting alcohol problems in emergency departments: interventions reduce alcohol-related injuries. Addiction 2008;103:368–76.

2)Crawford MJ. Review: Screening and intervention for alcohol misuse in emergency rooms reduces alcohol-related injuries. Evid. Based Ment. Health 2008;11;88

3)Manjunatha N, Saddichha S, Sinha BNP et al. Chronology of alcohol dependence: Implications in prevention.Ind J Com Med 2008; 33: 228-32.

Conflict of Interest

None declared