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Detection and management of alcohol misuse by general practitioners

Authors:

NP Gurugama,

Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, LK
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SL Seneviratne,

Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, LK
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DTS Peiris,

Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, LK
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HJ de Silva

Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, LK
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Abstract

Introduction Alcohol misuse and related problems are common in Sri Lanka. The appropriateness of the primary care setting in dealing with alcohol misuse is well recognised, and general practitioners (GPs) constitute an important first contact setting.

Methods One hundred and fifty randomly selected GPs practising in the Colombo and Gampaha districts were given a questionnaire to assess how they detect and manage alcohol misuse, and their attitudes towards persons who misuse alcohol.

Results Seventy per cent of GPs responded [74 male; mean age 42 years (SD 6.7)]. Our results suggest that although a majority (81%) of GPs were frequently confronted with problems related to alcohol misuse, their efforts to detect the problem and knowledge regarding risk limits of alcohol consumption were poor. Only 25.7% had even heard of CAGE and MAST questionnaires. The majority of GPs felt inadequately trained to deal with alcohol misuse, but only a few made any self-directed efforts to improve their knowledge and skills regarding its management or referred their patients for specialised care. Participation in preventive programmes was minimal, and many GPs expressed negative attitudes towards persons misusing alcohol.

Conclusions The ability of general practitioners to detect and alcohol misuse appears to be inadequate.

(Index words: Alcoholism, CAGE and MAST questionnaires, training of general practitioners)

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4038/cmj.v48i4.3328

CMJ 2003; 48(4): 122-124

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4038/cmj.v48i4.3328
How to Cite: Gurugama, N., Seneviratne, S., Peiris, D. and de Silva, H., 2011. Detection and management of alcohol misuse by general practitioners. Ceylon Medical Journal, 48(4), pp.122–124. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cmj.v48i4.3328
Published on 18 Aug 2011.
Peer Reviewed

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