Thursday, September 18, 2008

Biochemical measures can detect unreported alcohol abuse

The on-line journal, Current Psychiatry, has a good article on the use of bio-markers to detect unreported alcohol abuse. Here is a brief snippet from the article:

Hospitalized patients who are not truthful about their alcohol consumption may be at risk for an unplanned withdrawal. Self-reports of alcohol use—such as CAGE and the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT)—are valid, inexpensive, and noninvasive, but patients easily can feign results.1 Biochemical measures are more objective, and combinations of markers are an effective tool to detect recent heavy drinking in the 10% to 25% of patients who underreport alcohol use.2

Biochemical measures can detect acute alcohol intoxication and recent prolonged drinking. Because marker levels return to normal after long-term abstinence, ongoing monitoring can help detect a relapse before a patient admits to it.3

This article presents 3 cases in which biochemical markers helped prevent alcohol withdrawal in patients who denied alcohol abuse. We discuss why we ordered biochemical tests and which combinations provided highly sensitive results.

You can access the article by clicking here.

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