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Addict Behav. 2013 Apr;38(4):1944-51. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2012.12.017. Epub 2012 Dec 29.

Self-estimation of blood alcohol concentration: a review.

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  • 1Neuroscience Program, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA.


This article reviews the history of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) estimation training, which trains drinkers to discriminate distinct BAC levels and thus avoid excessive alcohol consumption. BAC estimation training typically combines education concerning alcohol metabolism with attention to subjective internal cues associated with specific concentrations. Estimation training was originally conceived as a component of controlled drinking programs. However, dependent drinkers were unsuccessful in BAC estimation, likely due to extreme tolerance. In contrast, moderate drinkers successfully acquired this ability. A subsequent line of research translated laboratory estimation studies to naturalistic settings by studying large samples of drinkers in their preferred drinking environments. Thus far, naturalistic studies have provided mixed results regarding the most effective form of BAC feedback. BAC estimation training is important because it imparts an ability to perceive individualized impairment that may be present below the legal limit for driving. Consequently, the training can be a useful component for moderate drinkers in drunk driving prevention programs.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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