While many people with alcohol use disorder visit a doctor, few receive treatment for their drinking, a new study finds.
The study found about 80% of people who meet the criteria for alcohol use disorder had visited a doctor, hospital or medical clinic for a variety of reasons in the past year. About 70% were asked about their alcohol intake, but only 10% were encouraged to reduce their drinking by a health professional, The New York Times reports. Just 6% received any type of treatment.
Several medications can reduce the urge to drink, but doctors rarely prescribe them, the article notes. Many physicians are not trained to treat addiction or are not educated on the medications approved to treat it.
Another recent study found only 1.6% of Americans with alcohol use disorder had been prescribed a medication to help them control their alcohol intake. “These are potentially lifesaving medications, and what we found is that even among people with a diagnosable alcohol use disorder the rate at which they are used is extremely low,” said Dr. Wilson Compton, an author of the study and deputy director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.