Managing alcohol problems in general practice in Europe: results from the European ODHIN survey of general practitioners

Alcohol Alcohol. 2014 Sep-Oct;49(5):531-9. doi: 10.1093/alcalc/agu043. Epub 2014 Jul 16.


Aims: To document the attitudes of general practitioners (GPs) from eight European countries to alcohol and alcohol problems and how these attitudes are associated with self-reported activity in managing patients with alcohol and alcohol problems.

Methods: A total of 2345 GPs were surveyed. The questionnaire included questions on the GP's demographics, reported education and training on alcohol, attitudes towards managing alcohol problems and self-reported estimates of numbers of patients managed for alcohol and alcohol problems during the previous year.

Results: The estimated mean number of patients managed for alcohol and alcohol problems during the previous year ranged from 5 to 21 across the eight countries. GPs who reported higher levels of education for alcohol problems and GPs who felt more secure in managing patients with such problems reported managing a higher number of patients. GPs who reported that doctors tended to have a disease model of alcohol problems and those who felt that drinking was a personal rather than a medical responsibility reported managing a lower number of patients.

Conclusion: The extent of alcohol education and GPs' attitudes towards alcohol were associated with the reported number of patients managed. Thus, it is worth exploring the extent to which improved education, using pharmacotherapy in primary health care and a shift to personalized health care in which individual patients are facilitated to undertake their own assessment and management (individual responsibility) might increase the number of heavy drinkers who receive feedback on their drinking and support to reduce their drinking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Data Collection
  • Europe
  • General Practice
  • General Practitioners / psychology*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Report