Alcohol use disorder is a common, well known but at the same time large and mystifying field. It can sometimes appear confusing how to manage patient with alcohol use disorder given it's chronic relapsing and remitting nature. There is a plethora of information out in both the medical literature and journals as well as common media about alcohol, treatment and management and it can be easy to be overwhelmed with all the varying information sources.
Furthermore, patients can also come in with their own agendas or treatment preferences and it can be difficult to find the balance between being patient centred but practice evidence based and safe medicine.
The answer to dealing with the glut of information is to find trusted resources and paradigms for the management of alcohol use disorder.
One must know the rationale for managing withdrawal, how to manage complications related with alcohol withdrawal, how to risk stratify patient for home versus residential withdrawal, which medications to prescribe, how to management relapse, how to prescribe anti-craving medications and which services to refer patients to treatment manage the underlying behavioural issues which assisted in the formation in alcohol use disorder.
In our episode of Cracking Addiction this week we address all of the above issues and complexity and provide simple and evidence based guidelines to treat patients with alcohol use disorder.
Author: Dr Thileepan Naren MBBS FACRRM FRACGP
Thileepan is an Addiction Medicine Advanced Trainee and experienced general practitioner with a demonstrated history of working with disadvantaged and marginalized groups.