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Drinking and spinal cord injury.

One hundred thirty-seven (137) spinal cord injury (SCI) patients (average age 50, duration of paralysis 17 years) were interviewed to determine the incidence and course of alcohol consumption and causes of remission. One hundred and one (101) patients, 74 percent of the sample, had consumed an average of six drinks a day (range 1-40) for an average of 23 years (range 5-47). Ninety-two (92) of these patients were habitual drinkers prior to SCI (39 were drinking the day of injury) and seven became drinkers after injury. Remissions occurred in 45 patients (33 abstaining, 12 with significant reduction) who had averaged seven drinks a day (range 1-25) for 18 years (range 2-44). Remissions were uninterrupted and averaged 9 years (range 1-27). Remission occurred in 18 patients during the first year of paralysis and, subsequently, at an average rate of one patient per year. The most common reasons given for remissions were general health considerations (10), compounding of the disabilities of myelopathy (9), loss of taste for liquor (9), and development of medical complications (7). While alcohol consumption is common prior to SCI, it is reversible after SCI, and additional therapeutic intervention, guided by known reasons for remissions, may be effective.

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Managing Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome.Annals of Emergency Medicine 2024 March 26

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