Alcohol use disorder (part 2)

A lot of this alcohol use disorder guideline is aimed at specialists. Basically, anyone with dependence (AUDIT > 15) needs specialist referral. Under 18s should be referred to CAMHS. There are specific tools which are listed for use with under 16s instead of the AUDIT screen.

If someone has harmful drinking, but isn’t dependent, a ‘brief intervention’ may be appropriate. The guideline lists the advice to give:

  • Harms of drinking/potential health benefits of stopping/wellbeing
  • Barriers to change
  • Practical tips
    • Recognise high risk situation for drinking and avoid
    • Recognise personal cues (eg stress/being alone)
    • Drink a soft drink for every alcoholic drink/eat before drinking
    • Alternative activities – e.g. exercise/hobbies/reading
    • Drinking diary – ask close contacts for help
    • Goals/targets (moderation unless there are physical/psychological co-morbidities or unless moderation is not successful)
    • Written advice on cutting down (I think this was the most helpful)

Louise Hudman

I'm a freelance GP locum in Winchester & Southampton locum chambers, and Pallant Medical Chambers Clinical Guidelines Lead Partner.

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