Home > Identifying alcohol problems among suicide attempters visiting the emergency department.

Lee, Jinhee and Min, Seongho and Ahn, Joung-Sook and Kim, Hyun and Cha, Yong-Sung and Oh, Eugene and Moon, Jin Sil and Kim, Min-Hyuk (2019) Identifying alcohol problems among suicide attempters visiting the emergency department. BMC Psychiatry, 19, (1), p. 350. doi: 10.1186/s12888-019-2347-5..

External website: https://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/1...

BACKGROUND: Many suicide attempters brought to our emergency department (ED) have been found to have alcohol problems, and this should be taken serious consideration because alcohol use disorder is a risk factor for suicide reattempt. In this study, we aimed to estimate the effectiveness of alcohol-related biochemical markers and Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test Consumption (AUDIT-C) in suicide attempters who visited our ED based on the gold standard for clinical diagnosis used by psychiatrists for alcohol use disorder. Moreover, we aimed to search for a significant standard when clinicians make correct predictions about alcohol use disorder using these markers.

METHODS: Among the subjects who visited a Wojun hospital ED following a suicide attempt, a total of 203 subjects were selected. Following a psychiatric interview, the subjects who met the criteria for alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence according to DSM-IV-TR in the past year were defined as the "alcohol use disorder" group. Although some subjects did not meet these criteria, men with a weekly alcohol intake of ≥14 drinks and women with a weekly alcohol intake of ≥7 drinks were classified as the "risky drinking" group. AUDIT-C was used as a self-report; further, aspartate aminotransferase, gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT), and carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT) were assayed using standard methods, and GGT-CDT was calculated using this formula: 0.8 × ln(GGT) + 1.3 × ln(%CDT).

RESULTS: In total, 88 subjects met the criteria for alcohol use disorder and 115 were included in the reference group. In the screening for alcohol use disorder, the AUC of AUDIT-C was 0.89 for men and 0.87 for women. In the screening for risky drinking, the AUC of AUDIT-C was 0.99 for men and 0.93 for women. Compared with other biochemical markers, AUDIT-C showed the highest AUC value for screening for both alcohol use disorder and risky drinking, with the trend being more prominent in men.

CONCLUSIONS: Among the biochemical markers, AUDIT-C yielded the highest sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy in diagnosing alcohol use disorder among suicide attempters in ED. Comparison of results revealed that the use of AUDIT-C with biochemical markers or its use alone can help screen for alcohol use disorder or risky drinking in clinical settings.

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