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The Michigan alcoholism screening test was used to assess the prevalence of alcohol problems in 142 patients aged between 18 and 60 years consulting a general practitioner. Previous and/or current alcohol problems were identified in 33% of men and 4% of women. Unemployment was found to be significantly associated with alcohol problems in the men of the study group. The higher proportion of patients with alcohol problems requesting consultation compared with those without such problems did not appear to be associated with a specific presenting complaint.
Screening for alcohol problems should be undertaken in all patients consulting a general practitioner if early detection and intervention are to be achieved.