Original Research

Psychiatric comorbidity among alcohol-dependent individuals seeking treatment at the Alcohol Rehabilitation Unit, Stikland Hospital

Charnotte M. Gabriels, Muiruri Macharia, Lize Weich
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 25 | a1218 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v25i0.1218 | © 2019 Charnotte Gabriels, Muiruri Macharia, Lize Weich | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 March 2018 | Published: 16 April 2019

About the author(s)

Charnotte M. Gabriels, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Muiruri Macharia, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Lize Weich, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: International studies have found high rates of psychiatric comorbidity among patients with alcohol use disorders (AUDs) and highlighted the clinical and prognostic implications of this finding. There is a paucity of information with regard to the extent of this problem within the South African context.

Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of psychiatric comorbidity (DSM IV-TR) in treatment-seeking, alcohol-dependent South Africans.

Setting: This study was conducted at the Alcohol Rehabilitation Unit (ARU), Stikland Hospital, Western Cape.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted over a 6-month period. The Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI, version 5) was used to assess psychiatric comorbidity in 101 (male, n = 65; 64.5%) alcohol-dependent patients. Interviews were conducted after the first week of admission to ward 13.

Results: Most participants (n = 63, 62.4%) had a co-occurring psychiatric disorder, the most common being major depressive (n = 30, 29.7%) and anxiety disorders (n = 43, 42.6%). Of the anxiety disorders, agoraphobia without a history of panic disorder (n = 10, 9.9%) and social phobia (n = 10, 9.9%) occurred most frequently, followed by generalised anxiety disorder (n = 9, 8.9%) and post-traumatic stress disorder (n = 9, 8.9%). Thirteen patients (13%) had a comorbid substance use disorder other than AUD.

Conclusion: The prevalence of psychiatric comorbidity at this unit is high, especially among female patients. The findings emphasise a need to thoroughly assess patients and provide treatment and personnel who can manage the complex needs of a dual diagnosis patient population.


Keywords

Alcohol use disorder; Alcoholism; Alcohol dependence; Alcohol addiction; Comorbidity; Dual diagnosis; Psychiatric illness

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