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Friday 25th May 2018

Heavy drinkers lie to their doctors

20th November 2008

A new survey has suggested that heavy drinkers lie to their GPs about how much alcohol they consume.


Up to 40% of people who drink to excess fail to reveal the true extent of their drinking to their doctor while men and women drinking double the daily limit conceal it from partners, friends and colleagues.

The recommended daily limit is two pints of beer for men or a large glass of wine for women. Exceeding these figures increases the risk of alcohol-related disease, cancers and stroke.

In a government poll of nearly 2,000 people, 39% of the "high risk" drinkers gave a lower figure.

Royal College of GPs chairman Professor Steve Field said people needed to be open with their doctors about their drinking.

"I know people find it difficult to be honest about their consumption of alcohol, but as GPs we are here to help," he said. "We are able to support and help people to keep to safe levels."

A spokesman for the Know Your Limits campaign echoed that view, adding it was understandable that some people felt a little embarrassed about their drinking.

But he added that if people who were drinking too much told their GP or practice nurse, they could advise on the health risks and help reduce their consumption to a lower-risk level.

The Department of Health has commissioned a research programme into the best ways of identifying heavy drinkers who have come before the courts or who are receiving treatment on the NHS.


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Steve Palmer

Thursday 20th November 2008 @ 15:06

Doctors need support to identify dependent drinkers, and to identify them early. All too often, people are ending up in A and E, hospital departments and GP surgeries because of their undiagnosed problematic alcohol use.

“This happens elsewhere in the NHS where we work with frontline staff, trained in asking the right questions of people they suspect being dependent drinkers. Those individuals are then referred to agencies like Turning Point so that they can be fast-tracked on to quicker treatment options. Another skill comes in getting the client to appreciate the dangers associated with their dependent drinking. This all saves valuable NHS resources but also reduces readmissions and problematic, hazardous drinking.Harry Walker, Turning Point's alcohol spokesperson.

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