by Scholten A

Talking to Your Doctor About Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with alcohol. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:
  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
  • Do you think I have a problem with drinking?
  • Have you helped others with AUD?
  • Where can I get help for AUD?
  • I’m concerned that I’ve done damage to my body because of my drinking habits. Do I need a physical exam and some tests?
  • Do my health problems have anything to do with my drinking habits?
  • If I continue with my current drinking pattern, am I putting myself at risk for more serious complications?
  • What medical and nonmedical treatments are available for AUD?
  • What are the benefits, risks, and side effects of medical treatments for AUD?
  • How do the treatments work and how long will they take?
  • Can you refer me to a support group for people with AUD?
  • Can you refer me to a mental health professional that specializes in the treatment of AUD?
If you find a mental health professional that specializes in the treatment of AUD, ask the following questions:
  • What type of training and how much experience do you have in treating AUD?
  • What is your basic approach to treatment?
  • How long will treatments last?
  • How long and frequent are the treatment sessions?
  • Do you accept health insurance?
  • Do you have fee schedules and sliding scale fees to accommodate various financial circumstances?
  • What changes can I make to reduce my use of alcohol?
  • Is there anything I can do to enhance my recovery?
  • Is there anything I can do to reverse any damage I may have done to my body because of AUD?
  • What are my chances of successful recovery?
  • What if I relapse?
  • What are my chances of reversing any damage I may have done to my body because of AUD?

References

Alcohol or drug abuse recovery: Your doctor can help you. Am Fam Physician. 2000;61(6):1883-1884.
Tips for talking to your doctor. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/healthcare-management/working-with-your-doctor/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor.html. Updated May 2014. Accessed April 10, 2015.

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