Survey reveals GPs unlikely to believe patients about alcohol intake

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12th September 2018 15:02 - Health

Survey reveals GPs unlikely to believe patients’ about alcohol intake: Ever been asked by your GP about your alcohol consumption? Well, it’s possible they may double the amount that you tell them -- that’s according to recent research by Direct Line life insurance.
The survey of almost 2,000 patients and 191 GPs found that many doctors assume patients hold back on telling them the whole truth when it comes to alcohol consumption. 
A similar survey also found a large number of patients were not clued up on what constituted a safe drinking limit or even had much notion of the amount that they regularly consume. 
Doctors, according to the survey, only believe 40 percent of patients they see tell them the full story when it comes to questions surrounding alcohol. And when it comes to underestimating how much alcohol they drink, young women are the worst offenders, the survey found. 
Responses by GPs found that 21 percent believed their patients displayed signs of high alcohol dependence, and 19 percent a moderate dependence. 
Patient responses
When it came to polling patients, GPs suspicions were proven correct in some cases with many admitting to not being wholly honest when asked about alcohol.  Two-thirds polled admitted they had no idea what the weekly limit was and 20 percent said they regularly drink more than the recommended amount. 
One in five respondents said they did not keep tabs on how much they were drinking, while 16% felt they weren’t alone in misrepresenting how much they drank.  Being judged by their family doctor was a fear of 14% of patients, while a further 14% felt that asking about alcohol consumption was irrelevant. 

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said: "Over-consumption of alcohol can have a huge negative effect on our health and wellbeing, so being honest with your GP or other healthcare professional, as well as yourself, about how much you drink is an important first step in understanding how it could be impacting your life."

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