Factors for Maintaining Abstinence at 2 and 6 Months After Alcohol Withdrawal.

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Relapse rates in subjects with an alcohol use disorder who have undergone alcohol detoxification are high, and risk factors vary according to the studied population and the context in which withdrawal occurred. Subjects being treated in psychiatric settings require increased monitoring at the moment of detoxification and during follow-up. It is thus important to identify specific risk factors for relapse in such patients. The objective of this study was to determine factors associated with maintenance of abstinence 2 months after alcohol withdrawal (M2) and to characterize factors associated with later relapses 6 months after withdrawal (M6) among those who were abstainers at M2.We conducted an ancillary study of a specific psychiatric cohort of subjects with an alcohol use disorder who were followed after withdrawal, by analyzing clinical and biological data collected at M2 and M6.The specific factors predictive of future relapse were age, intensity of craving, number of standard glasses consumed, psychiatric comorbidity (depression), and employment and family/marital status. Substance use (other than the use of tobacco) decreased the likelihood of abstinence at M2, whereas a depressive state at the time of alcohol withdrawal increased the likelihood of abstinence at M2. Consumption of other substances and a greater intensity of craving at the time of alcohol withdrawal decreased the likelihood of abstinence at M6.The results of this study highlight the importance of identifying craving, multiple substance use, and psychiatric comorbidities (depression) during comprehensive interviews in follow-up after alcohol withdrawal. In caring for patients after alcohol detoxification, priority should be given to factors that have been shown to enhance the beneficial effects of abstinence, such as mood enhancement.

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