GPs should advise drinkers to keep a daily record of their drinking

March 28, 2012

The new UK alcohol strategy includes a plan to ensure that General Practitioners (GPs) advise heavy drinkers to cut down. There is good evidence that this can reduce how much people drink. The big question is, what should GPs say to their patients?

A new study published online by the scientific journal Addiction analysed the advice given by GPs in all the major clinical trials evaluating this kind of advice, looking for common components linked to the largest reductions in drinking across the different studies.

Among the many different components of the advice, such as providing information on the harms of excessive drinking, trying to boost motivation and self-confidence, and advising on avoidance of for drinking, they found that the most effective piece of advice was to encourage the patient to monitor his or her , typically by keeping a daily record.

Lead author Susan Michie, Professor of at University College London, explains why self-monitoring is such helpful advice: "In , it's important to advise people how to reduce their drinking rather than just saying they ought to drink less. Getting patients to record how much alcohol they drink each day provides a concrete, easy task that raises their awareness of their behaviour and how well they are doing in staying within limits that they set themselves. This may seem like common sense but common sense needs to be supported by hard evidence for it to be acted upon in official policies."

Explore further: Doctors' own alcohol consumption colors advice to patients

More information: The Government's Alcohol Strategy, 23 March 2012, downloadable from http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/

Related Stories

Doctors' own alcohol consumption colors advice to patients

October 31, 2011
Doctors who drink more themselves are more liberal in their advice to patients on alcohol consumption. They set higher thresholds for what is harmful, and while men who are heavy drinkers get to continue drinking, women are ...

Alcohol and your heart: Friend or foe?

January 30, 2012
A meta-analysis done by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) into the relationship between alcohol consumption and heart disease provides new insight into the long-held belief that drinking a glass of red wine ...

Recommended for you

Amber-tinted glasses may provide relief for insomnia

December 15, 2017
How do you unwind before bedtime? If your answer involves Facebook and Netflix, you are actively reducing your chance of a good night's sleep. And you are not alone: 90 percent of Americans use light-emitting electronic devices, ...

Warning labels can help reduce soda consumption and obesity, new study suggests

December 15, 2017
Labels that warn people about the risks of drinking soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages can lower obesity and overweight prevalence, suggests a new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study.

Office work can be a pain in the neck

December 15, 2017
Neck pain is a common condition among office workers, but regular workplace exercises can prevent and reduce it, a University of Queensland study has found.

Regular takeaways linked to kids' heart disease and diabetes risk factors

December 14, 2017
Kids who regularly eat take-away meals may be boosting their risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, suggests research published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Simulation model finds Cure Violence program and targeted policing curb urban violence

December 14, 2017
When communities and police work together to deter urban violence, they can achieve better outcomes with fewer resources than when each works in isolation, a simulation model created by researchers at the UC Davis Violence ...

Your pets can't put your aging on 'paws'

December 14, 2017
(HealthDay)—In a finding that's sure to ruffle some fur and feathers, scientists report that having a pet doesn't fend off age-related declines in physical or mental health.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.