There is evidence that home detox is ideal for minority communities such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 6 This may be extrapolated to culturally and linguistically diverse populations.
Patients with alcohol dependency are often referred to over-burdened tertiary services, or are given a potentially dangerous prescription of diazepam without the support required for a safe detox process. 4 GPs are well placed to offer a structured home alcohol detox service for their patients.
Alcohol is the most dangerous addictive drug in the world and kills 15 Australians every day. 1 The harms related to alcohol dependence are undisputed, yet discussing alcohol consumption with patients still seems to be a difficult conversation. 2 , 3 One could argue that, as well as alcohol’s cultural acceptability, this is partly due to the lack of options in primary care for treating alcohol dependency.
Mild Moderate Severe Complicated Daily standard drinks 10–14 15–25 30–40 >50 SADQ score <16 16–30 >30 >30 plus medical problems Setting Home Home Inpatient services Inpatient services Suggested prescribing regimen – diazepam Day 1 Symptomatic –5 mg 4 times a day when required 10 mg 4 times a day and 10 mg when required - - Day 2 5 mg 3 times a day 5 mg 4 times a day - - Day 3 5 mg twice a day 5 mg 3 times a day - - Day 4 5 mg at night 5 mg twice a day - - Day 5 5 mg at night 5 mg at night - - Day 6 - 5 mg at night - -
Supporting patients through home detox is proven to be safe, successful and cost-effective. The patient-centred, confidential and discreet location of general practice makes it extremely accessible and provides a safe and non-judgemental environment.
What non-drug strategies are there to help withdrawal?
Helping a patient through home alcohol detoxification has high patient satisfaction rates and is hugely rewarding for the GP.