Comorbidity of Alcoholism in Outpatients with Psychiatric Disorders in the Emergency Psychiatric Department

Abstract

It is well known that there is high co morbidity between psychiatric disorders (particularly depression and personality disorders) and alcoholism. Aim of this study is to investigate the co morbidity of alcohol abuse/dependence in outpatients seeking psychiatric help in the Emergency Psychiatric Department (EPD) of two General Hospitals. For a three-month period, all the adult outpatients examined in the EPD of two General Hospitals completed the CAGE (Cut down, Annoyed, Guilty, Eye-opener) questionnaire, which uncovers hidden alcoholism. The outpatients’ demographics and reason of psychiatric examination were noted. CAGE was given by residents acquainted with its use. The sample included 320 outpatients (mean age±SD: 41.79±15.4) years. There were 27.5% positive answers. Men presented significantly higher CAGE scores compared to women (t test p<0.01). Patients diagnosed with personality disorders had higher scores compared to patients with other psychiatric disorders. In conclusion, alcohol abuse seems to be high in Greek psychiatric outpatients compared to the general population, a finding in accordance with the international bibliography. The systemic investigation of alcohol abuse as a comorbidity factor and as a factor that is associated with psychiatric illness seems to be important. Males with personality disorders seem to be a high-risk group.

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