Can my primary care doctor diagnose a substance abuse problem?

Howard J. Shaffer, PhD
Addiction Medicine
A survey by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found that fewer than one-third of primary care physicians thoroughly screen their patients for substance abuse problems, including alcohol problems. In the same survey, about four in 10 patients said they had a substance abuse problem that went undiagnosed, while one in 10 said his or her physician knew about a substance abuse problem but did nothing to address it.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.