The number of patients with alcohol-related burns admitted to burn units has increased. It has been reported previously that alcohol-related burns are an indicator of alcohol dependence, but there are few studies addressing alcohol use several years after burn injury.
To investigate alcohol consumption 2–7 years after burn injury and to examine possible contributing factors.
Consecutive adult patients with burns (n = 67) were included during hospitalization, and an interview was performed at 2–7 (mean = 4.6) years after burn. Data assessed at baseline were injury characteristics, sociodemographic variables, coping, and psychiatric disorders. At follow-up, the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test was used to identify at-risk drinking.
Overall, 22% of the burns were alcohol-related; however, this was not associated with at-risk drinking at follow-up. Of the former patients with burns, 17 (25%) were identified as having an at-risk drinking pattern at follow-up. One item in the Coping With Burns Questionnaire used in acute care, “I use alcohol, tobacco or other drugs to be able to handle my problems”, was the only factor found to predict an at-risk drinking pattern several years after injury.
There were more at-risk drinkers in this burn population as compared with in the general population. The results indicate that an avoidant coping pattern, including the use of alcohol to handle problems, can be considered a potentially modifiable factor.
2015. Vol. 56, no 4, 390-396 p.