• Vol. 45 No. 4
  • 15 April 2016

Alcohol Use Disorders amongst Inpatients in a General Hospital in Singapore: Estimated Prevalence, Rates of Identifi cation and Intervention



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Many alcohol-related problems often go undetected and untreated. In Singapore, no epidemiological studies have been done in general hospitals on alcohol use disorders (AUD), i.e. alcohol dependence and abuse (DSM-IV-TR). Such fi ndings are useful in planning AUD liaison services. In this study, we aim to estimate the prevalence of AUD among non-psychiatric inpatients and to determine the rates of identifi cation and intervention rendered by medical staff. Materials and Methods: Non-psychiatric medical and surgical wards inpatients aged 21 years and above were recruited over a 3-month period. The Alcohol Use Disorders Identifi cation Test (AUDIT) was used to screen for AUD and the MINI International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI English Version 5.0.0) was administered to diagnose AUD if the AUDIT score was 8 or above. Case notes were independently reviewed for AUD identifi cation and if interventions were offered during admissions. Results: A total of 5599 inpatients were screened, of which 673 (12%) completed the screening using the AUDIT, and of these, 154 (2.8% of total sample) were positive for AUDIT. In this group, 107 were diagnosed with AUD. The estimated prevalence was 1.9% (approximately 400 cases per year per hospital). The medical staff identifi ed only 25 (23.4%) cases of AUD, out of which, majority of them (76%) were rendered interventions. Conclusion: The rate of AUD identifi cation by medical staff was low. Of those identifi ed, majority were given interventions. Thus, the training of health care staff to identify AUD together with the implementation of brief interventions should be considered.

Alcohol consumption is common worldwide. Global prevalence rates of alcohol use disorders (AUD) i.e. alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse according to ‘Text Revision’ of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Version 4 (DSM-IV-TR) among adults were estimated to range from 0% to 16% in 2004, with the highest prevalence rates found in Eastern Europe. The point prevalence of AUD for males is estimated to be highest in Eastern European countries, in parts of Southeast Asia and in selected countries in the Americas.

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