New guideline urges doctors to regularly screen for alcohol use disorder – CTV

Oct. 16, 2023

New guidance to help family doctors detect and manage high-risk drinking addresses a crucial gap in knowledge among both patients and doctors, say its authors, who warn that a common practice to prescribe antidepressants can actually induce cravings for alcohol.

The advice is comprised of 15 recommendations on early detection of alcohol use disorder, withdrawal management, psychological interventions and community-based programs.

It urges routine screening for alcohol use and includes tips on what to avoid, such as prescribing antidepressants without ruling out problematic alcohol use first because selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can worsen alcoholism symptoms.

“A lot of Canadian doctors prescribe SSRIs,” said Jurgen Rehm, co-chair of the guideline writing committee.

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