Research Reports - Patterns of alcohol use after traumatic brain injury

J Neurotrauma. 2015 Nov 4. [Epub ahead of print]

Pagulayan K(1,)(2), Temkin N(3), Machamer J(4), Dikmen S Ph D(5).

Alcohol misuse and traumatic brain injury (TBI) frequently co-occur. The negative
consequences of this interaction are well documented, but the patterns of
long-term post-injury alcohol consumption are less clear. This study examined
patterns of alcohol use among 170 adults with a history of complicated mild to
severe TBI. Participants were recruited from a Level 1 Trauma Center at the time
of their injury, and completed evaluations at 1 month, 6 months, 12 months, and
3-5 years post-injury. Pre-injury alcohol use was also assessed at the time of
the 1-month assessment. A modified Quantity-Frequency Index of alcohol
consumption was then calculated for each time point. The results revealed high
levels of pre-injury alcohol consumption, followed by a reduction in consumption
at 1-month post-injury. A significant increase in consumption was noted by 6
months post-injury, followed by more gradual increases in alcohol consumption at
1 year. Post-injury alcohol consumption was comparable to the general public at 6
months, 12 months, and 3-5 years post-injury. These results suggest that the
first six months post-injury may be the critical window of opportunity for
alcohol intervention. 

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