Alcohol treatment guidelines for Indigenous Australians


Surveys have shown that, while Indigenous Australians are less likely than non-Indigenous Australians to consume alcohol, those that do are more likely to drink at risky and high-risk levels. Indigenous Australians are thus more likely to experience the adverse effects of alcohol consumption than their non-Indigenous counterparts – with commensurately higher levels of associated health and social problems within the Indigenous community. These guidelines have been developed to give guidance to healthcare providers working with Indigenous clients who are adversely affected by alcohol consumption. They are designed to be a reliable source of information and direction that has sufficient flexibility for appropriate situational adjustment. As such, this resource is offered as a guide for how a healthcare provider might: diagnose and provide appropriate treatment for Indigenous clients with alcohol-related problems; recognise when clients are affected by and need treatment for more than one substance or medical problem; communicate with and support clients who wish to stop drinking or reduce their alcohol consumption; and provide clients with appropriate health information and resources that may help them minimise short- and long-term alcohol-related effects on their health. When addressing the problem of alcohol consumption with Indigenous people, an approach is required that responds to both the underlying determinants and their causes. Accordingly, these guidelines also discuss situations where a holistic approach to treatment is required. The challenge for healthcare providers is to achieve the best clinical outcome for their clients while being sensitive to the needs of the wider community.

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