A recent report suggests that the new UK alcohol strategy includes a plan to ensure that all GP’s advise heavy drinkers to cut down and manage their alcohol consumption. This follows a new study, published in the scientific journal Addiction that analysed advice given by GPs. It seems the most effective piece of advice found during this study was for a GP to encourage a patient to keep a daily record of their alcohol consumption. The aim, it seems, is to make people realise how much alcohol they are consuming, to then set themselves a target limit and aim to maintain drinking at this level thus avoiding alcohol addiction.

I find it incredible that funds have been used for a study and this is the best they can come up with.

Can a person whose life is becoming unmanageable because of their drinking really be expected to write a true and accurate diary of consumption?

Is it not time that GPs were really showing a sound understanding of addiction as an illness and advocating the need for total abstinence? In my experience, what they actually do is prescribe sleeping tablets and anti-depressants and send patients on their way, with little or no follow ups or reviews. What about offering the patient the psychological support they need to understand addiction as an illness and to challenge and manage the psychological triggers and issues that underpin their addictive behaviours?

It is time that these resources were spent in offering the right treatment for these patients and getting more people on a realistic road to recovery.  Alcohol help is available; seek help before it’s too late.