Researchers studied military personnel, finding that mild TBI was linked with an increased risk for alcohol dependence up to 180 days after the injury took place. Researchers also saw an increased risk for non-dependent abuse of drugs, alcohol, and nicotine dependence in the month after the airmen sustained the injury, News-Medical.net reports.
5,065 active-duty airmen who suffered a mild TBI that resulted in temporary confusion or disorientation, memory loss, and/or a brief loss of consciousness were involved in the study. The test cases were compared with a group of 44,733 airmen who suffered other forms of injury.
The study showed an increased risk of alcohol dependence with airmen with a mild TBI shortly after the injury, compared with those in the other test group. Fortunately, the risk decreased over time.
“Screening for addiction-related disorders should be considered as part of routine care for mild TBI and might best capture the first 30 days post-mild TBI, with repeat alcohol screening thereafter for at least 6 months following the injury.”
The study appears in the American Journal of Psychiatry.