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Lying To Your GP

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008 Lying To Your GP

The BBC have produced a controversial report ( 20 11 08) In that it argues that two out of five people will lie to their GP in relation to their own individual alcohol consumption as suggested by a recent survey.

According to the survey, both genders consuming twice the daily limit will also hide this fact from their partners. This comes as no surprise as the development of alcoholism can be slow and insidious. Furthermore there is also a lot of guilt and stigma attached.

Moreover, the 2,000 that were surveyed, it was established that men were more likely to lie than their counterparts.

As a population, we have somewhat been bombarded with the safety limits. The information is accessible very readily two pints of beer for men or one large glass of wine for women per day.

With reference to the survey, those who did not exceed limits do not undervalue their consumption to the GP. However, 39% of the “high risk” drinkers gave a lower figure. This supports the argument of stigma and guilt. In essence as suggested by the survey 19% of the heavy drinkers would only be fooling themselves.

A spokesman for the Know Your Limits campaign said that it was understandable that some people felt a “little embarrassed” and might want to “put a gloss” on their drinking habits when talking to their doctor.

But he added: “But it’s important people talk honestly if they think they may be drinking too much or even if they’re not sure.

“If they are drinking at higher-risk levels, their GP or practice nurse will be able to advise on the health risks, and may be able to help reduce their consumption to a lower-risk level.”

In terms of exceeding the recommended daily limits the risk of alcohol related illness will increase such as liver disease, and other forms of cancer, high blood pressure and stroke.

Another aspect to be considered is that as indicated in the survey a further 12% of heavy drinkers were hiding it from their partners, with similar percentages concealing their intake from friends and work colleagues.

The Royal College og GP’s supports the safer drinking campain and it’s chairman Professor Steve Field, urged people to be as frank as possible.

He states “I know people find it difficult to be honest about their consumption of alcohol, but as GPs we are here to help,” he said.

“We are able to support and help people to keep to safe levels.”

Notwithstanding, the Department of Health has now commissioned a research programme into the best ways of identifying heavy drinkers who have come before the courts, or who are receiving NHS treatment.

Furthermore, the department has already announced a £7m project to put “regional alcohol managers” in place across England in a bid to tackle the problem.

However, Don Shenker, Chief Executive of Alcohol Concern, said that the survey findings suggested that nationally-gathered statistics about alcohol use could be misleading. He argues “As GP codes for patients’ alcohol consumption are used to research drinking levels, this survey shows that the problem is far bigger than existing evidence suggests,” he said.

“Recent claims about decreasing levels of consumption are dubious.”

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