Early Detection of Alcohol Consumption Test

Blood chemistry test effective in identifying heavy drinkers

Technician With Blood Vial
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An advanced blood chemistry test is available to physicians and healthcare providers. This test is twice as likely to detect heavy drinking in their patients, compared to liver enzyme tests they have traditionally used, developers of the test claim.

The multi-level test is capable of determining if someone has engaged in heavy drinking anytime during the previous four to six weeks. The test will reveal if a male patient has had more than five drinks a day or if a female patient has had more than four drinks in a day.

How the EDAC Test Works

The Early Detection of Alcohol Consumption test is actually an algorithm of 20 blood chemistry levels. Those measurements are compared to a database of more than 1,700 heavy and light drinkers.

Research has shown that the Early Detection of Alcohol Consumption test is twice as accurate as the liver enzyme test used to detect heavy drinking.

In one study, 88% of the heavy drinkers and 92% of the light drinkers were correctly identified using the test. The test is even more effective with patients over 40 years of age.

Early Detection is Important

Research has shown that the sooner alcohol problems are addressed the better the outcomes and the less long-term damage. At the 2008 meeting of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry, physicians were encouraged to use the test to increase early intervention with heavy drinkers.

"Physicians can use the test as part of an early intervention," James Harasymiw, director of Alcohol Detection Services, said in an AACC news release. "When patients are confronted with test results, they may be more likely to change their behavior."

"Physicians can show patients the test results to help convince them that their drinking is causing serious damage to their organs and other biologic systems," Harasymiw said.

More Accurate Than Screening Tests?

There are many short alcohol screening tests that are available to screen for alcohol problems in the healthcare setting, but the results of those tests depend upon the patient answering the questions openly and honestly.

Someone trying to cover up or minimize their drinking habits could easily do so with the short-answer screening tests. But the Early Detection of Alcohol Consumption test measures actual blood chemistry levels, making it more difficult for heavy drinkers to hide their consumption.

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  1. Harasymiw JW, Bean P. Identification of heavy drinkers by using the early detection of alcohol consumption scoreAlcohol Clin Exp Res. 2001;25(2):228-235. doi:10.1111/j.1530-0277.2001.tb02203.x

  2. McKeever, K. New Test Identifies Heavy Drinkers. ABC News. Published July 31, 2008.