A study published in the open access journal Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention and policy unwinds that the general practitioners (GPs) who received regular extra training treats the alcohol dependent patients better for a long term.
The ratio of the patients treated by trained GPs who abstain from drinking alcohol is more than the patients treated by GPs who had received the basic training alone at the medical school. Also the abstinence is longer in the patients treated by trained general practitioners.
Laurent Malet from the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Clermont-Ferrand, France, and colleagues from other institutions in France studied a group of 24 trained GPs and a comparison group of 24 untrained GPs, and their respective patients diagnosed with alcohol dependency. All GPs had received an average of 10 hours of tutoring on alcohol misuse during or after their studies, but trained GPs were also receiving a few hours of regular training that involved discussing case studies and participating in role-plays. There were 126 patients in the trained GP group and 122 in the comparison group.
Malet et al.'s results show that the average frequency of attempts at abstinence was twice as high in the group treated by trained GPs as in the comparison group. Relapses were more frequent in the group treated by trained GPs, but on average patients in this group spent longer without drinking than patients in the comparison group: they remained abstinent for an average 36% of the 18 month-long study period compared to only 16% for the comparison group. The cumulative number of days the patients spent without drinking was 102.9 days for the group treated by trained GPs and 68.4 days for the comparison group