To determine (i) the prevalence and characteristics of harmful alcohol consumption in general practice attendees; (ii) social and psychological associations with harmful drinking and (iii) recognition of harmful drinking by GPs.Methods
A cross-sectional study of ten general practices in Goa, India. A total of 1567 general practice attendees were recruited.Results
A total of 338 men (41%) and 597 women (81%) reported that they never consumed alcohol. One hundred and twenty-eight people or 8.2% scored ≥8 on the AUDIT [123 (15%) men and five (0.7%) women] and were classified as harmful or dependent drinkers. The population attributable fraction of harmful drinking in the perpetration of any physical violence by men over 12 months was 0.36. The population attributable fraction of moderate drinking (vs abstention) in the perpetration of any physical violence by women over 12 months was 0.27. Doctors identified almost 60% of problem drinkers but misidentified ∼5% of moderate drinkers as problem drinkers.Conclusions
The male pattern of drinking in Goa is one of the high rates of abstention coupled with relatively high rates of harmful and dependent drinking in those who consume alcohol. Most women are abstainers. These data provide the first evidence in India on (i) the role of the GP in identification of harmful alcohol use and (ii) the contribution of harmful drinking to the perpetration of physical violence from the perspective of the alcohol user.