Feature Article

Detection and management of problem drinking in general practice

Ben Schwarz, Paul S Haber



GPs are ideally placed to identify patients with drinking problems. Offering counselling and advice on the reduction of alcohol consumption are key roles in general practice.

Key Points

  • Alcohol consumption is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Australia.
  • Screening for alcohol-use disorders is both effective and cost-effective but many cases are still missed.
  • Brief intervention is moderately effective for nondependent heavy drinkers.
  • Alcohol dependence is best treated using a comprehensive approach after identifying active physical and mental health issues and psychosocial concerns using counselling and medications.