A new report suggesting that 1 in 10 hospital inpatients are alcohol dependent has been published today, but Dr James Gill, Honorary Clinical Lecturer at the University of Warwick and a Locum GP, argues that to we need to ask why alcohol is such a feature in an individual’s life.
He said: “Alcohol is once again in the news with reports from King’s College London saying 1 in 5 hospital patients drinks in a harmful way. The question is whether the alcohol is related to being a patient, or is part of the constellation of issues that lead to someone being a patient.
“Alcohol is being featured heavily at the moment as one of the three big public health issues - along with obesity and smoking. These numbers today suggest that we need to be looking at the whole person, asking why alcohol is such a feature in a person’s life, rather than merely saying “You need to drink less”. If someone is feeling down and depressed, or is in chronic pain, they may use alcohol to try to block these factors out. Unfortunately, saying ‘drink less’ doesn’t help the person, and is unlikely address the alcohol use either.
“At Warwick Medical School we try to get the students to ask ‘why?’ If we can identify why a patient has a certain health behaviour we can look at trying to help them, as addressing the health behaviour alone is rarely the answer."
4 July 2019
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