Alcohol Use and Secondary Prevention in Psychiatric Care
Sammanfattning: Although alcohol plays an important role in psychiatric morbidity, there is a general lack of strategies within psychiatric care to intervene at alcohol problems in an early stage (secondary prevention). The aim of this thesis was to increase knowledge of adequate forms of secondary alcohol prevention in psychiatric care. The capacity of three brief screening instruments was investigated in a psychiatric outpatient sample (n=1811). The results indicate that the HED (heavy episodic drinking) screener, strongly recommended for health care settings, is not sufficiently sensitive in a psychiatric setting. Instead, the full AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test) is recommended.The knowledge and attitudes of psychiatric staff members to problem-drinking patients were studied and the effects of a three-hour training course were investigated. Confidence in self-perceived capacity to intervene in more severe alcohol problems was raised among all staff after training. Awareness of early signs of problem drinking was raised among psychologists and social workers. The therapeutic attitude of the psychiatric staff was higher when compared with primary care staff.Two forms of brief intervention were delivered by clinical psychiatric staff. At 12 months, 29% of all participants had improved their drinking habits, moving from hazardous to non-hazardous level (21%) or from harmful to hazardous level (8%). In the improved group, mean AUDIT score was reduced from 11.0 points at baseline to 5.5 points. Differences in outcome between the two interventions could not be identified.Nine high-risk drinking young female psychiatric patients were interviewed, focusing on reasons for excessive drinking and factors facilitating a change in drinking habits. Alcohol played an important role in the lives of the young women. It made them feel social and helped them deal with unbearable emotions. It was also used as a means of self-harm, representing the first stage in an escalating self-harm process. They expressed a need for help from their caregivers in addressing the underlying reasons for drinking.Secondary alcohol prevention strategies including appropriate screening methods, staff training and the elaboration of tailored interventions are urgently needed in psychiatric care. The findings of this thesis can be used when forming such strategies.
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