High Risk Behaviours & Alcohol Dependence (Commentary) (Report)
In this issue, Poulose et al (1) report high-risk behaviour following alcohol use in patients admitted for treatment of alcohol dependence. The authors approached patients admitted for alcohol dependence syndrome and used the event analysis technique which involves inquiring about occurrence of high risk behaviour in temporal association with significant alcohol use as defined for the purpose of the study from patients and corroborated by their relatives. High risk behaviour has been defined as an occurrence of event with probability of harm and bearing a temporal relationship to consumption of alcohol. The authors have also tried to differentiate those with high risk behaviours from those without on measures of severity of addiction, sensation seeking and impulsivity. Methodologically, it is important to appreciate that this study used a hospital-based, purposive sample without a control group and thus cannot be termed as ideal. The study also used an event analysis method based on a questionnaire developed by the authors that has not been validated elsewhere and the instruments used were local language translations of the sensation seeking scale (2) and the Barratt’s impulsiveness scale (3). Notwithstanding the methodological problems which have probably arisen due to logistical constraints, this study raises some important issues. The first deals with the consequences of alcohol use and the second, the role that personality factors of alcohol abusers and the bearing these factors have on issues such as the antecedents of alcohol dependence and the determinants of the varying outcomes in patients with alcohol dependence.