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Addict Biol. 2003 Dec;8(4):455-62.

Sequential studies of sleep disturbance and quality of life in abstaining alcoholics.

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Departments fo Clinical Biochemistry and Psychological Medicine, King's College, Denmark Hill, London, UK.


Previous studies in recently detoxified dependent alcoholics have shown severely disturbed sleep and impaired quality of life. Although this association has been found to predict short-term relapse to heavy drinking, no sequential studies have been conducted to monitor significant changes in sleep quality and quality of life in abstaining alcoholics. Fifty-seven inpatients at a voluntary sector 12-Step alcohol detoxification unit in South London were administered a series of questionnaires assessing sleep (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, PSQI), Quality of Life (Euro-Qol) and Depression and Anxiety (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scales, HADS). Questionnaires were administered at baseline and for 12 weeks at monthly intervals. At baseline, PSQI scores showed that 52 of the 57 participants suffered from impaired sleep. The scores, however, did not correlate significantly with any of the other measurements. All except two participants acknowledged impaired Quality of Life in at least one area. With respect to the follow-up measurements 23 (40%) participants completed the study. Quality of life and depression scores improved significantly over a 12-week period but sleep and anxiety scores did not. At 12 weeks the mean PSQI score was still above the cut-off point for 'sleep caseness'. Quality of life and depression show a significant improvement over a 3-month period of abstinence, although at this point the subjects are still experiencing difficulties with sleep and anxiety. This information could help in the planning of future rehabilitation and treatment programmes.

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