Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine
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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 40  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 315-321

Relationship between craving and early relapse in alcohol dependence: A short-term follow-up study

1 Department of Psychiatry, Tihar Central Jail Hospital, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Psychiatry and Drug De-addiction, Centre of Excellence in Mental Health, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ram Pratap Beniwal
Room No. 5, Department of Psychiatry and Drug De-addiction, Centre of Excellence in Mental Health, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research Dr. Ram Manohar LohiaHospital, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJPSYM.IJPSYM_558_17

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Background: The role of craving in alcohol dependence and its relationship with relapse has been studied widely in the past decade. The present study was undertaken to assess the role of craving in short-term relapse of patients seeking treatment for alcohol dependence and changes in craving score at the end of detoxification and at follow-up. Materials and Methods: A total of 34 male individuals with alcohol dependence (excluding comorbid drug dependence, organic or psychiatric disorder), after detoxification and discharge, consented. No anticraving medicine, aversive or psychotherapy, was advised. They were diagnosed on the International Statistical Classification of Diseases-10 using Diagnostic Interview for Genetic Studies. Severity of Alcohol Dependence Questionnaire (SADQ) and Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment Scale–Alcohol-Revised (CIWA-AR) were administered at the time of admission. Penn Alcohol Craving Scale (PACS) was applied at the time of discharge and follow-up to measure craving for alcohol. Results: Out of a total of thirty patients analyzed after dropout, 21 relapsed at the end of 1 month. On comparing PACS scores between relapsed and nonrelapsed patients, the difference was significant at both time points, i.e., at discharge and follow-up (t = 4.15, P < 0.0001 and t = 4.01, P < 0.001, respectively). In the total sample, SADQ and CIWA-AR scores were positively correlated (r = 0.47, P = 0.009). PACS at discharge was compared with PACS at follow-up, of which the correlation was high (r = 0.832, P < 0.0001). Conclusion: Craving seems to be a main factor related to relapse. Its measurement with PACS can be a useful tool to predict subsequent drinking and to identify individual risk for relapse during treatment.

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