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People with Alcohol Use Disorders in Specialized Care in Eight Different European Countries

15 Apr 2015

Aim: To provide a description of patients receiving alcohol treatment in eight different European countries, including the level of comorbidities and functional limitations.
Methods: Drinking behaviours, DSM-IV alcohol use disorder (AUD), mental and somatic comorbidities, disability and health services utilization of 1767 patients from various specialized treatment settings were assessed as representative for regions of eight European countries. Severity of alcohol dependence (AD) in terms of drinking level was compared with a large representative US sample.
Results: Patients in specialized care for AUDs showed high levels of consumption [average level of daily ethanol intake: 141.1 g, standard deviation (SD): 116.0 g], comorbidity [e.g. liver problems: 19.6%, 95% confidence interval (CI): 17.5–21.6%; depression: 43.2%, 95% CI: 40.7–45.8%; anxiety: 50.3%, 95% CI: 47.8–52.9%], disability and health services utilization (average number of nights spent in hospital(s) during the last 6 months: 8.8, SD: 19.5 nights). Severity of AD was similar to the US sample, but European men consumed on average more alcohol daily.
Conclusions: High levels of consumption, somatic and mental comorbidities, disability and functional losses were found in this representative treatment sample, indicating that treatment was initiated only at severe stages of AUDs. Earlier initiation of treatment could help avoid some of the health and social burden.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Alcohol and Alcoholism