Background: Probable alcohol use disorder (AUD), mental health disorders (MHDs), and mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) are endemic among U.S. Veterans of the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Previous research demonstrates that recent Veterans with AUD and MHD both with and without mTBI (MHD ± mTBI) self-report higher alcohol craving levels relative to Veterans with AUD only. Since it is unknown if alcohol craving negatively impacts health-related quality of life (HRQOL), the purpose of this study is to identify and describe the relationship between alcohol craving and HRQOL for recent Veterans with AUD alone and those with AUD and co-occurring conditions. Methods: This cross-sectional study included Penn Alcohol Craving Scale (PACS) and Veterans RAND 36 Item Health Survey mental and physical component score data collected among recent Veterans with AUD (N = 29, n = 27 males): 14 combat controls, 15 MHD ± mTBI. The Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test, consumption questions determined AUD classification. That is only Veterans scoring a 4 or above for males and a 3 or above for females on the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test, consumption questions were included in this study. Associations between alcohol craving and HRQOL were examined using correlations and regression models. Results: There was a significant negative linear relationship between PACS and mental component score ( p < 0.05) that did not significantly differ between groups. There was a significant negative curvilinear relationship between PACS and physical component score with a significant group effect. Discussion: Greater alcohol craving was associated with poorer mental HRQOL. Physical HRQOL was also significantly associated with alcohol craving. These relationships have important implications for clinical assessment and treatment among people with AUD. These findings suggest that alcohol craving is an important symptom of AUD for clinicians to assess and focus their treatment upon because it may negatively impact HRQOL.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health