From the Ivory Tower: The Data-Driven Strategy CMS, Health Plans, and State Governments Use to Review a ProviderÕs Clinical Practice
Chronic pain and alcohol consumption are both very common in the general population, and alcohol is often used to numb both physical and emotional pain. This relationship is especially salient as estimates of alcohol consumption have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this course, the epidemiology of co-occurring pain and alcohol use will be discussed, and recent figures related to alcohol sales will be reviewed. This session will also provide information on the latest evidence surrounding the interaction between alcohol consumption and pain. For example, moderate alcohol use has been associated with improved pain-related outcomes for certain pain conditions; however, both excessive binge drinking and alcohol use disorder are associated with worsened pain outcomes. The interaction of alcohol with pharmacologic treatments for pain will be reviewed. Furthermore, the presence of pain may serve as a trigger for some to increase alcohol consumption as a maladaptive coping strategy. Behavioral approaches to address this process, to treat co-occurring alcohol use disorder and chronic pain, and to reduce problem drinking will be presented.