A functional assessment methodology for alcohol dependent patients undergoing rehabilitative treatments

E. M. Capodaglio, G. Vittadini, D. Bossi, S. Sverzellati, M. Facioli, C. Montomoli, E. Dalla Toffola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: We propose a functional assessment approach for patients with alcoholic dependence of working age undergoing aerobic training. The background is the WHO indication (ICIDH-2) to use measurable 'activities' as a means to assess the individual 'participation' in social life which also implies work capacity. Defining sustainable energetic levels for the individual is an important issue for both the quantification of an effective training and the evaluation of possible improvements following training. Methods: Fifty-six 'alcohol dependent' patients, as defined by DSM IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), admitted to our Unit in a 16 month-period participated in the study. Eighteen healthy subjects served as controls (Group C). Out of all the 56 patients, 33 (Group A) underwent an aerobic training and 23 subjects (Group N) underwent the same pharmacological and psychological therapy but without aerobic training. Patients were assigned to the treatment (A) or no treatment (N) group according to a 'quasi-experimental' design (i.e. temporal selection criteria). The evaluation protocol consisted of submaximal symptom-limited tests. The tests consisted of bouts of 'basic' activities (walking, lifting, arm-work) to be performed at different intensities. We estimated the total energetic work (TW) performed in the tests by means of formulas available in the literature. The maximal energetic intensity (EI) reached during the tests was also estimated and expressed in MET (multiple of the basal metabolism). Results: Significant differences in work capacity were observed between patients and healthy subjects at baseline. Group A significantly increased TW after rehabilitation, while Group N did not increment their performance at the re-test. Conclusions: The proposed approach could be useful in the functional assessment of deconditioned subjects with alcohol dependence in working age, and could monitor the changes in work capacity following training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1224-1230
Number of pages7
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - Nov 4 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Health Professions(all)


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