Alcohol Addiction- New Breath Test for Family Courts

As a Consultant Psychiatrist, I am faced with the issue of dealing with Child Care Custody and Contact for people who have problems with Alcohol Use or Dependence. Not being a lawyer, commenting on the court decision making process is not within my expertise or domain but I do understand that adhering to treatment is an important factor for decisions regarding the child’s placement. I am often asked whether the individual in question has demonstrated this adherence to treatment.

Disulfiram (Antabuse) is a well researched medicine that is commonly used to maintain abstinence (remaining alcohol free) from alcohol. Different methods to monitor abstinence exist including Breath Testing for Alcohol, Urine tests, Blood tests and Hair Analysis.

But the good news is, that now with a new technology, measuring the breakdown products of Disulfiram in the breath is possible. So that means that by doing a breath test, it is possible to know whether someone has been taking their medication. This new technology can have huge implications-

– Can empower the person taking medication

– Can help in safely demonstrating concordance to treatment by passing this breath test

– Can help the Courts with their decision making process

– Can help the clinicians with better monitoring

I am sure everyone in the situation of their child care proceedings would agree with me that the joy of having ones child back is beyond any description in words!

I will give more details of this technology in my next post. By that time I would have had the opportunity to analyse this technology more rigorously and perhaps report on other uses of it. One quick benefit that comes to mind as I end this post is it’s use in Occupational and Employment related issues!

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Psychiatrists Wars: Dr Crane v Dr Crane

Psychiatry is a serious matter. Little wonder then, that generally speaking,  psychiatrists are seen as a little stuffy and unapproachable, with an air of ‘superiority’ about them.  All the more important then, that we learn to laugh at ourselves a bit! The TV show ‘Frasier’ does a wonderful job of keeping our collective professional feet on the ground and raising a few smiles and chuckles along the way. Here’s one of my favourite moments:

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Post-war Soldiers Thoughts Revealed in New Play ‘ReEntry’

“Right now, I’m just happy that I’m not being shot at,” says John, a Marine captain who has returned from Iraq. “But at the same time, I’m kinda upset that I don’t have anyone to shoot.”

As Aaron Levin, the author of this insightful article from Psychiatric News/Psychiatry Online comments, “Well, that is a dilemma, isn’t it?”

ReEntry‘ explores the realities of dealing with the fallout of a military life in a ‘theatre of war’. The above quote may be the words of an actor, but they play’s script was informed by extensive interviews with U.S. Marines and their family members by writers KJ Sanchez and Emily Ackerman. Ackerman’s two brothers served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the younger surviving a roadside bomb blast in Iraq while his sister was creating the play. “That event ultimately became a core element in the play, combining personal trauma, disfiguring injury, and the deaths of comrades in arms.”

Levin remarks, “But one thing is clear: they may have posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms or skate too close to suicide, but these guys aren’t asking for or expecting pity. ” Read the article in full here.

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