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Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2009 Oct;11(5):345-52.

Gaps in addressing problem drinking: overcoming primary care and alcohol treatment deficiencies.

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Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 1123 Blockley Hall/6021, 423 Guardian Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Despite the high prevalence of problem drinking among Americans, primary care physicians often fail to address this major health threat. In addition, once alcohol use disorders are identified, patients often fail to receive coordinated medical and substance abuse treatment. This article reviews four types of barriers as well as potential facilitators to improving the prevention and management of problem drinking. First, primary care physicians are poorly trained about the clinical relevance of addressing alcohol problems in their daily patient care. Second, primary care physicians are concerned about the stigma and health insurance problems encountered by patients diagnosed with alcohol use disorders. Third, primary care practices have limited organizational and financial support to identify and address alcohol problems. Fourth, primary care and alcohol treatment settings communicate and collaborate poorly in delivering patient care. Opportunities to overcome these challenges are discussed and must be initiated to reduce the myriad of adverse outcomes resulting from problem drinking.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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