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Home > Discussing alcohol use with the GP: a qualitative study.

Coste, Sandra and Gimenez, Laetitia and Comes, Aurélie and Abdelnour, Xavier and Dupouy, Julie and Escourrou, Emile [BMJ Open] . (2020) Discussing alcohol use with the GP: a qualitative study. BJGP Open, 4 (2) DOI: https://doi.org/10.3399/bjgpopen20X101029

URL: https://bjgpopen.org/content/4/2/bjgpopen20X101029...

BACKGROUND: Despite most GPs recognising their role in the early diagnosis of alcohol use disorder (AUD), only 23% of GPs routinely screen for alcohol use. One reason GPs report for not screening is their relationship with patients; questions regarding alcohol use are considered a disturbance of a relationship built on mutual trust.

AIM: To analyse the feelings and experiences of patients with AUD concerning early screening for alcohol use by GPs.

DESIGN & SETTING: A qualitative study of patients ( = 12) with AUD in remission or treatment, recruited from various medical settings.

METHOD: Semi-structured interviews were conducted, audiorecorded, and transcribed verbatim. The authors conducted an inductive analysis based on grounded theory. The analysis was performed until theoretical data saturation was reached.

RESULTS: The participants experienced AUD as a chronic, destructive, and shameful disease. The participants expected their GPs to play a primary role in addressing AUD by kind listening, and providing information and support. If the GPs expressed a non-judgmental attitude, the participants could confide in them; this moment was identified as a key milestone in their trajectory, allowing relief and a move toward treatment. The participants thought that any consultation could be an opportunity to discuss alcohol use and noted that such discussions required a psychological and benevolent approach.

CONCLUSION: The participants felt fear or denial from the GPs, even though they felt that discussing alcohol use is part of the GP's job. The participants requested that GPs adopt non-judgmental attitudes and kindness when approaching the subject of alcohol use.


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