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Friday, July 1, 2011

The medical and psychological effects of alcohol consumption after laryngectomy

Alcohol consumption after laryngectomy can cause medical and psychological problems. Danker and colleagues of the University of Leipzig, studied the drinking behavior in 225 laryngectomized patients and its effects on their quality of life and mental health.

Alcohol dependency was found in 7% of the patients. Half of the respondents showed a constant consumption of alcohol and only 6% of the patients wanted to change their consumption. Patients with alcohol dependence had increased anxiety, more problems in coping with illness, and increased psychosocial care needs, fatigue, shortness of breath, diarrhea and a worse emotional functioning level .

Alcohol intake was independent of tumor stage , employment status, social class, the time interval since laryngectomy, and type of voice substitute.

The authors concluded that alcohol dependency is associated with adverse psychosocial and medical consequences, which require treatment. Because socio-demographic and medical parameters do not assist in evaluating patients' alcoholism risk, an individual exploration of the patients' drinking behavior is needed which could prepare the ground to specific treatment.

The study was published in the June 2011  Clinical Otolaryngology.