Medical Test For Alcohol Use: Procedures and What To Expect
13 September, 2023
The misuse of alcohol can lead to abuse. When this happens, many problems may arise. For instance, people lose their ability to function properly. It can turn into unproductivity in the workplace. Moreover, it can cause relationship issues. To prevent these, they may get a medical test for alcohol use. Laboratories collect samples through saliva, urine, and blood tests. They can expect the process to be quite invasive. Nevertheless, it is beneficial.
A test can analyse the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) in the body. Additionally, it helps them control their drinking when the possibility of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is high. The consequences they may face because of the disorder can be difficult to manage. Hence, it is good to test as early as possible to take appropriate measures. To learn more about the tests, the article will present the reasons for testing, the procedures, and other things to expect.
Medical Test for Alcohol Use: Why is There a Need for It?
There are several reasons why people may need and want to undergo a medical test for alcohol use. Firstly, it is for their workplaces. Some companies require a pre-employment test to ensure that their potential hires are suitable for the business. In addition, it may also be a part of an annual physical examination in their companies. Alcoholics in the workplace may present problems. Hence, it is better to prevent them with tests.
Secondly, it is for personal reasons. They may want to confirm if their BAC is high because it can lead to addiction. Those who want to avoid health concerns can also take a test. Furthermore, it may help them monitor their alcohol intake. For people with AUD, the test supports them in managing it.
Lastly, it is for legal purposes. Some need to take a test because they are under investigation. For instance, law enforcement would want to determine if a person is under the influence of alcohol when they get into a road accident. It aids in knowing what the corresponding actions will be.
The tests can be done in different methods. Some are known to be more reliable than others. Here are some of them:
- Blood Alcohol Test – This type is considered one of the most accurate among all tests. Alcohol is visible in the blood for around 12 hours.
- Urine Test – It may take up to two hours before alcoholic substances appear in urine. It can stay in the body system for up to 24 hours.
- Saliva Test – The test can detect substances from 5 to 48 hours. They need supervision while the test is conducted for safety and accuracy.
The Procedures of Medical Tests for Alcohol Use
Healthcare professionals are typically present during a medical test for alcohol use. This is especially true for blood alcohol tests. People need to go to a laboratory to get their blood drawn. It is not possible to do it on their own, unlike other tests. Moreover, it may take a longer time to get results for this type, but it is commonly accurate. Administrators usually require the consent of testers for this type.
Meanwhile, urine tests require individuals to submit their samples in a cup. For special cases, they might need supervision to avoid cheating by tampering with their sample. The method is most common for workplace settings because it is less expensive yet reliable.
Moreover, technicians need to swab the insides of the mouths of people for saliva tests. They then transfer the sample into a device to analyse the result. There are instances where people can buy their own urine and saliva kits to test themselves. It is a convenient way of testing, but there are increased risks because there are more possibilities of false positives and faking the samples.
Are There Risks?
One risk of taking a test is the possibility of a false positive result. It may cause legal problems and other concerns. Moreover, several factors may affect the BAC. An example is medication intake. Some tests can detect certain prescription drugs. Hence, they should avoid consuming them before the test.
Also, people can refuse certain tests like blood tests. However, they may face legal consequences. Moreover, those who comply with a required test may receive lesser fines and jail time compared to those who do not. Thus, they should weigh the pros and cons of taking and not taking a test.
What to Expect in Medical Tests for Alcohol Use
People can expect certain medical tests for alcohol use to be quite invasive. Blood tests require medical experts to draw blood using a syringe. Some may not feel comfortable about it. Likewise, needing to take urine samples can be both difficult and awkward. Meanwhile, a saliva test would require them to open their mouths, which can also be distressing for other people. Hence, they should be prepared for these things when taking a test.
Despite the discomfort they might feel, it is necessary. It brings about positive outcomes as well. When people see their results, they can change for the better. Those who have high levels and are to be diagnosed with AUD can proceed with rehabilitation programs.
In addition, they can anticipate that some results may take a while. For instance, they may wait for weeks to receive the results of a blood alcohol test. Also, if they want a non-invasive option and they are allowed to, they can try doing a breath test with a breathalyser instead.
The tests mentioned above are typically for one-time use only. Hence, people who want to take regular alcohol tests to manage their consumption can opt for a breathalyser. The way it works is by testing the breath for alcohol content using a handheld device. It is suitable for home use and outside.
Moreover, it is cost-effective because individuals can use it multiple times. Some devices may require calibration services. Moreover, they should acquire reliable units like BACtrack from Breathalysers Australia. They offer devices for personal and workplace use with high accuracy. Hence, they can depend on them to work well.
Medical tests for alcohol use are beneficial. It checks and confirms the BAC of people. There is a possibility of AUD when the percentage is high, which then leads to several types of concerns. They can lose a job, their loved ones, and their reputation. They can take appropriate measures after knowing the results. The procedure is typically done in medical facilities where sample specimens are collected. They may feel intrusive and uncomfortable, but it can be worth it.
Moreover, the tests are reliable. Hence, many organisations use them. While some tests may be more accurate than others, people can still depend on them for results. However, the tests are for single use only most of the time. Thus, they can choose a breath test to monitor their alcohol levels as they can use it many times. It is a beneficial tool to assess the BAC level. Hence, it can prevent road accidents and other possible problems.