Research Reports - Alcohol and drug use disorders in patients with traumatic brain injury

Rev Neurol. 2013 Apr 1;56(7):363-9

Castaño-Monsalve B, Bernabeu-Guitart M, López R, Bulbena-Vilarrasa A, Quemada JI

AIMS: To describe the prevalence of alcohol and drugs use in patients with
traumatic brain injury (TBI), and to assess their relationship with
neuropsychiatric disorders, functioning and caregiver burden.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: 156 patients with a history of moderate and severe TBI were
evaluated. The use of alcohol and drugs was determined. The Neuropsychiatric
Inventory (NPI) and the Zarit questionnaire were applied to caregivers. The
patients functioning were assessed with the Disability Rating Scale (DRS) and
Glasgow Outcome Scale Extended (GOSE).
RESULTS: 36 patients (23%) were regular users of alcohol and other drugs before
the TBI. Neuropsychiatric disorders were more frequent and severe in this group,
especially irritability and agitation-aggressiveness. Their caregivers perceived
a higher burden. After TBI, 16 patients (44.4%) relapsed in alcohol-drugs
consumption. Having a higher age and living with a partner were associated with
higher rates of abstinence.
CONCLUSION: The history of alcohol and drugs abuse is common in patients with TBI
and it is a risk factor for development of behavioral disorders. More active
interventions are needed aimed to detect these cases and work for prevention of
relapse after trauma.

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