AUDIT-ing Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol-Use-DisorderEvery day, all over the country, people enter local emergency rooms with injuries linked to alcohol consumption. A host of ailments can arise from drinking alcohol, both internal and external.

Physicians treating alcohol related injuries work to identify if the injury was the result of simply drinking too much, or if the injury is indicative of a more serious problem – such as an alcohol use disorder (AUD). Identifying if a patient has an AUD is crucial for physicians to intervene, and potentially guiding a patient towards treatment – reducing future trauma incidents.

AUDIT-ing Alcohol

New research suggests that a 10-point questionnaire is more effective in determining if a patient may have an AUD, compared to a blood alcohol content (BAC) test, ScienceDaily reports. The questionnaire helps physicians identify who may be at risk of future drinking related injuries.

Designed by the World Health Organization and known as the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), the questionnaire assesses:

  • Alcohol Consumption
  • Drinking Behaviors
  • Alcohol-Related Problems

“The potential cost savings from reducing trauma visits could amount to more than $1.8 billion a year, making screening and intervention for at-risk drinking one of the single most cost-effective preventative healthcare measures,” said Mark Mitchell, DO, president of the American College of Osteopathic Emergency Medicine.

The Research

The study, conducted by researchers at Loyola University Medical Center indicated that the AUDIT questionnaire was 20 percent more effective at identifying at-risk drinking behavior, compared to BAC tests.

“Given the interactions between alcohol and trauma, screening and intervention for at-risk drinking behavior are important components of injury prevention and public health. Previous studies have shown that brief interventions with these patients can lead to a 50 percent reduction in future trauma visits,” said Timothy Plackett, DO, the study’s lead researcher.

The findings were published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.
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