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Prevalence Of Chronic Pain In Patients With Alcohol Dependence Syndrome In Tertiary Care Center In India

Jitendra Rohilla, Geetha Desai, Prabhat Chan


Objective: Chronic pain and substance abuse are common problems with each having its own unique difficulties with partial response to treatment and poor outcomes. Relationship of chronic pain with alcohol dependence has not been explored unlike other substances specially opioids. This study aims to assess the prevalence and characteristic of chronic pain among respondents with alcohol dependence syndrome (ADS) and also attempts to explore the relationship of alcohol use and its effect on pain.

Methods: A Cross-sectional prevalence study was carried out in outpatient services of Center for Addiction Medicine at National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore, India. Six hundred forty six subjects fulfilling the DSM IV diagnostic criteria for Alcohol Dependence Syndrome (ADS) were screened for chronic pain. The assessments included semi-structured proforma for demographic and clinical details, Brief pain inventory (BPI) and Severity of Alcohol Dependence Questionnaire (SADQ-C).

Results: Chronic pain was prevalent in 118 (18 %) subjects with alcohol dependence syndrome with 49% of them reporting pain to be of severe intensity. Mean + SD (standard deviation) duration of pain in months was 26.2 + 33.7. Chronic pain was significantly more common among older patients. Majority of subjects (73.6 %) subjects reported use of alcohol for managing pain.  

Conclusions: Chronic severe pain either as a cause or effect of alcohol dependence is prevalent in such subjects. Efforts should be made to better understand and address the pain problems in this patient population. 

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Addiction; Alcohol Dependence Syndrome; Chronic Pain

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