Alcohol and the General Physician

  • Robin Walker


It is unfortunate that physicians have not shown an interest in the problem of alcohol abuse. Most doctors do not view alcohol and its related problems as a therapeutically rewarding field. This is mainly engendered by the high readmission rates which occur with this problem and perhaps also because of the inordinate amount of time which such patients tend to consume. Whilst there may be advantages to treating certain patients in a general medical ward environment, it only takes one recalcitrant and recidivist alcoholic to dampen the interest of physicians, nursing staff and others in the medical field. This is perhaps easy to understand, but the vast majority of patients with alcohol-related problems do not fit into this category. Those physicians who have for one reason or another developed an interest in the problem may derive some satisfaction from a recent article from Glasgow surveying the attitudes towards alcoholism amongst psychiatrists, (MacDonald & Patel 1975). It might be supposed that the role of the psychiatrist in the treatment of alcoholism was well established and in the particular hospital from which this account came, up to 40% of their acute male psychiatric admissions were alcoholics. The paper established on the basis of a questionnaire that at least in Scotland this problem is regarded less favourably than any other psychiatric or organic illness with the exception of self-poisoning and drug-dependence. If this attitude is prevalent amongst psychiatrists despite their presumed orientation towards the social and emotional aspects of illness, then what hope is there for physicians, general practitioners and other medical specialists?


Fatty Liver Alcoholic Hepatitis Alcoholic Patient Percutaneous Liver Biopsy High Protein Intake 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin Walker
    • 1
  1. 1.Walton HospitalLiverpoolUK

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