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

Liver Unit, Division of Infection, Inflammation and Repair, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK.
Addiction (Impact Factor: 4.6). 03/2009; 104(4):587-92. DOI: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2008.02493.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To examine the hypothesis that increases in UK liver deaths are a result of episodic or binge drinking as opposed to regular harmful drinking.
A prospective survey of consecutive in-patients and out-patients.
The liver unit of a teaching hospital in the South of England.
A total of 234 consecutive in-patients and out-patients between October 2007 and March 2008.
Face-to-face interviews, Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, 7-day drinking diary, Severity of Alcohol Dependence Questionnaire, Lifetime Drinking History and liver assessment.
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.
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.