Direttore Programma Salute Mentale e Dipendenze Patologiche, AUSL di Reggio Emilia
The study was carried out by twenty-four family physicians of the Counties of CASTELNOVO NEMONTI, GUASTALLA, MONTECCHIO and SCANDIANO, under the technical supervision of scientific advisor Andrea Noventa.
The study was started in 1998 and ended in early 2001. Aim of the study was to inform physicians and patients of the problems related to the use/abuse of alcohol. This was achieved using detailed brochures and meetings. This approach, together with the results of the administered test on health-related issues, allowed the investigators to identify the entity of alcohol intake in a cohort of 2,587 patients of the family physicians involved in the study.
The data analysis shows that 68% (1,759 subjects) of the patients enrolled in the study drunk alcohol in the past 3 months and that 36,4% out of 1,689 drinkers did so jeopardizing their health. The perceived health risk related to alcohol use was very low, only 2,4% of the patients (62 patients) being aware of the impact of alcohol-related problems. Among them, the are the subjects with the most dangerous drinking habit.
The alcohol drinkers are mostly men (83,8% men vs 53,7% women) aged between 18 and 80 years. The behavior at highest risk for the subjects health was typical of men aged 51-60 years. Cigarette smoking was associated to alcohol use in 48,2% of the subjects, making the health hazard even more severe.
The physicians admitted their impotence in controlling such phenomenon and, therefore, the observational study will continue focusing on the strengthening the relationship and information-sharing process between patients and physicians. In addition, specific courses targeted at helping the physicians to deal with a delicate and important issue such is alcohol use/abuse will be created.
In Personalità/Dipendenze, Vol. 9, Fascicolo II, ottobre 2003, Mucchi Editore, Modena; p. 241-244