Acta Diabetologica

, Volume 50, Issue 2, pp 93–99 | Cite as

Alcohol use of diabetes patients: the need for assessment and intervention

  • Patricia A. EnglerEmail author
  • Susan E. Ramsey
  • Robert J. Smith
Review Article


It is well known that diabetes self-care behaviors are critical to disease progression. Unfortunately, many patients do not adhere to diabetes self-care recommendations despite their importance. Alcohol use has been identified as a barrier to diabetes self-care adherence. Excessive alcohol consumption not only negatively impacts diabetes self-care adherence but also affects the course of diabetes. Diabetes patients who are at-risk drinkers are likely to have poor diabetes treatment adherence, leading to increased morbidity and mortality. Alcohol consumption by diabetes patients is often inadequately assessed and addressed in their medical care. Brief interventions to reduce at-risk drinking have been well validated in a variety of patient populations and offer the potential to improve diabetes treatment adherence and outcome. Assessment and treatment of at-risk drinking could be readily incorporated into routine diabetes care. Strategies for brief assessment of and intervention for at-risk drinking are offered.


Alcohol use Diabetes Alcohol assessment Brief intervention At-risk drinking Self-care adherence 



This work was supported in part by award number R01AA017418 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to S.E. Ramsey. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the official views of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism or the National Institutes of Health.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia A. Engler
    • 1
    Email author
  • Susan E. Ramsey
    • 1
  • Robert J. Smith
    • 2
  1. 1.Alpert Medical School of Brown University and Rhode Island HospitalProvidenceUSA
  2. 2.Alpert Medical School of Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital, Hallett Center for Diabetes and EndocrinologyProvidenceUSA

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