Docs should routinely ask adults about alcohol misuse

In addition to asking about physical complaints of pain or illness during annual exams, doctors should check on their adult patient's mental health and risky behaviors, the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force recommended. The panel found doctors typically ask adolescents about these behaviors, such as alcohol misuse, but not adults. The task force reviewed data collected between 1985 and 2011 to determine whether interventions during annual exams would help prevent or reduce alcohol abuse. They determined primary care doctors should ask adults about their drinking habits and offer counseling to those who drink more than they should. Abstract