By Darius A. Rastegar MD, Michael I. Fingerhood MD
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Extra info for The Addiction Medicine: An Evidence-Based Handbook (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Handbook)
Renal Complications Electrolyte abnormalities (hypokalemia, hypomagnesemia, and hypophosphatemia) are common in patients with alcoholism. Most abnormalities are related to poor nutrition, but renal tubular disorders may contribute. Treatment is electrolyte repletion, either orally or intravenously. Hyponatremia typically occurs in beer drinkers who have large-volume intake of high-calorie, lowsodium beer, accompanied by little other oral intake. The term â beer potomaniaâ is often used to describe this syndrome.
And J. W. Finney. 2002. Outcomes for untreated individuals involved in randomized trials of alcohol treatment. J. Subst. Abuse Treat. 23:247-252. 35 6. , and K. M. Carroll. 2002. Intention-to-treat meets missing data: Implications of alternate strategies for analyzing clinical trials data. Drug Alcohol Depend. 68:121-130. 7. , and C. Weisner. 2000. Use of exclusion criteria in selecting research subjects and its effect on the generalizability of alcohol treatment outcome studies. Am. J. Psychiatry 157:588-594.
While finding an improvement in a particular outcome measure (such as drug use) during or after a certain treatment is certainly evidence in support of that intervention, it is very limited at best. Given the cyclical nature of addiction, if one were to take a group of addicts who wished to stop or cut down on their use and followed them over time (without any intervention), it is likely that you would observe a relative improvement. This is further reinforced by the observation that when studies do have a control group, there is often a significant improvement from baseline in that group (5).