Study highlights challenge in detecting patient alcohol problems

Posted by pt91 at Aug 01, 2012 10:31 AM |
Medical staff struggle to spot problem drinkers according to a University of Leicester psychiatrist.

The work led by Dr Alex J Mitchell, consultant at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust and honorary senior lecturer at the University, reveals that clinical staff often overlook alcohol problems in their patients when they do not present intoxicated.

In the new study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, involving 20,000 patients assessed for alcohol problems by medical staff, all clinicians struggled to detect alcohol problems whether or not patients volunteered information regarding their drinking.

Assessing for alcohol problems in patients using a short questionnaire is recommended by the UK Primary Care Service Framework and NICE but not widely implemented by clinicians. Dr Mitchell says that the study highlights the challenge of clinical identification of alcohol problems by medical staff in busy clinical environments.