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Counseling Has Limited Benefit On Young Alcoholics

Update Date: Aug 21, 2014 09:55 AM EDT

Counseling techniques used to help young people overcome drinking problems might have limited benefit, suggests a new study. 

According to the study, an approach known as motivational interviewing did not substantially reduce drinking or alter alcohol-related behavior in young people.

Reports suggest, globally every year around 320,000 young people between ages of 15 and 29 die as a result of alcohol misuse. Majority of these deaths occur due to car accidents, murders, suicides or drowning. 

The study considered evidence from 66 trials that involved a total of 17,901 young people aged 25 and under. It concluded that Motivational interviewing had no effect on alcohol related problems, binge drinking, drink-driving and other risky behaviors related to alcohol, the press release added.

"The results suggest that for young people who misuse alcohol there is no substantial, meaningful benefit of motivational interviewing," said lead researcher David Foxcroft, who is based at the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at Oxford Brookes University in Oxford, UK, in the press release. "The effects we saw were probably too small to be of relevance to policy or practice."

"There may be certain groups of young adults for whom motivational interviewing is more successful in preventing alcohol-related problems," said Foxcroft. "But we need to see larger trials in these groups to be able to make any firm conclusions."

The review has been published in the journal Cochrane Library.

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