Daily Archives: 19/07/2014

Two key questions for GP to identify a drink problem

There was an article in The Independent recently that stated that:

Two questions is all it could take to establish whether a person currently suffers from or is at risk of a drink problem, a study for GPs says.

‘How often do you have six or more drinks on one occasion?’ and ‘as a result of your drinking or drug use, did anything happen in the last year that you wish didn’t happen?’ are the two enquiries a GP could make to detect hidden alcohol abuse, it claims.

Scientists from the University of Leicester, led by consultant in psycho-oncology Alex Mitchell, looked at 17 previous alcohol studies spanning 5,646 people to see whether simple preliminary screening using one or two questions could provide an accurate foundation for intervention.

The team found that the “optimal approach appears to be two questions” followed by a possible four more.

If this was completed then it “achieved an overall accuracy of 90.9 per cent and required only 3.3 questions per attendee.”

The study was published today in the British Journal of General Practice.

I really like this idea and think it should be implemented across all GP practices immediately.  I suspect it won’t be though because firstly the Govt don’t want to see we have a problem as then resources would need to be allocated to manage and resolve it. Secondly being a GP does not make you exempt from being a person who potential has a drink problem.  Asking this question of others makes it uncomfortable on yourself and denial being as powerful as it is I could see resistance to their use being expressed and experienced.  I hope I’m wrong and if you’d been asked these questions would you have answered them honestly?  I’m not sure I would have …….


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