Drinking patterns, dependency and life-time drinking history in alcohol-related liver disease

Jennifer Hatton, Andrew Burton, Harriet Nash, Emma Munn, Lesley Burgoyne, Nick Sheron*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aims To examine the hypothesis that increases in UK liver deaths are a result of episodic or binge drinking as opposed to regular harmful drinking. Design A prospective survey of consecutive in-patients and out-patients. Setting The liver unit of a teaching hospital in the South of England. Participants A total of 234 consecutive in-patients and out-patients between October 2007 and March 2008. Measurements Face-to-face interviews, Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, 7-day drinking diary, Severity of Alcohol Dependence Questionnaire, Lifetime Drinking History and liver assessment. Findings Of the 234 subjects, 106 had alcohol as a major contributing factor (alcoholic liver disease: ALD), 80 of whom had evidence of cirrhosis or progressive fibrosis. Of these subjects, 57 (71%) drank on a daily basis; only 10 subjects (13%) drank on fewer than 4 days of the week - of these, five had stopped drinking recently and four had cut down. In ALD patients two life-time drinking patterns accounted for 82% of subjects, increasing from youth (51%), and a variable drinking pattern (31%). ALD patients had significantly more drinking days and units/drinking day than non-ALD patients from the age of 20 years onwards. Conclusions Increases in UK liver deaths are a result of daily or near-daily heavy drinking, not episodic or binge drinking, and this regular drinking pattern is often discernable at an early age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-592
Number of pages6
JournalAddiction
Volume104
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Alcohol
  • Binge drinking
  • Cirrhosis
  • Drinking patterns
  • Drinking trajectory
  • Liver disease

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