To explore discussion of alcohol intake with a patient in a sensitive and appropriate manner.
Alcohol is a feature of the Australian lifestyle. People use alcohol for a range of reasons and in different social and cultural contexts. Most Australians drink alcohol at levels that have few adverse effects. However, any drinking increases the risk of ill-health and injury. The NHMRC website gives more information on safe levels drinking in the Australian context.
In medical consultations, therefore, it may be helpful to ask in detail about a person’s alcohol use. This may be a sensitive topic, as what an individual regards as socially acceptable may actually be beyond safe limits and lead to medical problems. Australians generally have a relaxed attitude to alcohol use, so it is important for the medical professional not to appear judgmental or impose views from a perspective the patient may not share.
Watch this video of a doctor exploring a patient’s alcohol use, discussing the impact on his life, and suggesting safe patterns of drinking.
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