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GPs may tell drinkers to keep daily alcohol diary

March 29, 2012

One way to tackle heavy drinking could be for family doctors to advise people to keep a record of their alcohol intake.

Heavy drinkers may in future be asked to keep a daily record of their alcohol intake by their GPs.

The government's new Alcohol Strategy, which was published earlier this month (March 23rd), contains a range of proposals aimed at tackling the nation's high levels of alcohol misuse.

One of these is that GPs should take a more active role, including advising heavy drinkers to cut down.

A new study in the journal Addiction suggests that one of the best approaches may be to tell drinkers to keep a daily diary of their alcohol consumption to help them monitor their intake.

Lead author Professor Susan Michie, from University College London, explained: "Getting patients to record how much alcohol they drink each day provides a concrete, easy task that raises their awareness of their behaviour and how well they are doing in staying within limits that they set themselves."

The expert added that, while this may seem obvious, "common sense needs to be supported by hard evidence for it to be acted upon in official policies".

According to the government's Alcohol Strategy, half of all alcohol drunk in England is consumed during binge-drinking sessions.

The publication also suggests that alcohol-related harm now costs the UK £21 billion each year.

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