If you want to know more ask your doctor about......

That tag line appears in just about all the pharmacuetical companies commercials asking you to pressure your doctor to prescribe their drugs.  It usually follows a rapid recitation of side effects that blow by quickly in the hopes of not taking attention from the idyllic images of healthy people portrayed on the screen.  

If you'd like to make a contribution to the health of your community here's something you can "ask your doctor about".  Given the large number of patients who have alcoholism and addiction why aren't you screening for it in the same manner you screen for other prevalent illnesses when you take a health history?  Unlike the drug companies spiel this "Ask your doctor about..." idea has no negative side effects.  In fact, it's easy to do, simple to incorporate and it's free.  Better yet, it has tons of science behind it.

The best screening tool is only four questions and is called the CAGE test:

Have you ever been Concerned about your drinking?

Have you ever been Angry when someone talks to you about your drinking?

Have you ever felt Guilty about something you did when you were drinking?

Have you ever had an "Eye opener"?

If you answer "yes" to two or more it'd be good to get a full alcoholism evaluation.  The good news is that when physicians ask the questions it takes very little work on the doctor's part to have patients drinking in a high risk manner reduce their consumption on their own and those who have alcoholism accept a referral to treatment.  Screening and referring for alcoholism treats it as any other medical problem and goes a long way towards reducing stigma and creating an environment conducive to the patient accepting help.

So "ask your doctor about" using the CAGE screening tool.  It can make a difference.