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Nervenarzt. 2008 Jan;79(1):80-5.

[Long-term follow-up on alcohol use in a big company after brief intervention by a company physician].

[Article in German]

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Lehrkrankenhaus Universität Tübingen, Abteilung für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Kreiskrankenhaus Sigmaringen, Sigmaringen.



Many examinations have shown that brief medical interventions are useful when seeking to influence the drinking behavior of problem drinkers and alcohol-dependent subjects. The working environment is particularly useful when trying to influence problematic drinking behavior. Our report is about the long-term effects on alcoholic employees.


The drinking behavior of 100 employees was categorized according to WHO criteria. By motivational interviewing, the employees were asked to reduce their alcohol consumption or quit completely and then come back at a later control date. The data collected was: drinking behavior (TLFB, time-line follow-back), biological markers (GGT, CDT, MCV), changes in personal situations, and the factors and reasons involved.


Forty-five percent of the employees went to their company physician after recommendation by their supervisors, and 24% went on their own initiative. Of the employees examined, 82% were diagnosed as being alcohol-dependent, 4% as harmful abusers, 6% as risky drinkers, and 8% as questionably risky drinkers. At the time of catamnesis, 78% of the employees that were originally diagnosed as alcohol-dependent were abstinent. Of those participants, 17% that were initially classified as not dependent were abstinent, and the overall quantity of alcohol consumed was also reduced significantly by 79.3%. Personal realms especially concerning happiness in life, happiness at work, and physical health improved.


The results show that a brief medical intervention conducted by a company physician is suited to influencing the drinking behavior of employees effectively and efficiently. The fear of demotion at work and job loss may prove to be a helpful influence on changing drinking behavior.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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