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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 43 (2001) 5, 297 - 307

New research

Alcohol use disorders among patients of an academic psychiatric outpatient clinic: Prevalence, recognition and screening by resident psychiatrists

A.J. Fouwels, W. van den Brink, H.F.A. Schalken

background Very little is known about the prevalence of alcohol use disorders among patients of Dutch mental health services and about the recognition and treatment of these disorders by mental health care professionals.
aims To estimate the prevalence of alcohol use disorders according to the icd-10 and dsm-iii- r diagnoses among psychiatric outpatients and the recognition of alcohol use disorders according to the icd-10 and dsm-iv by psychiatric assistent physicians. In addition, the screening qualities of a brief 8-item self-report questionnaire was tested.
method A cross-sectional study among 212 patients from an academic psychiatric outpatient clinic using a fully structured interview for the assessment of alcohol use disorders and a brief selfreport questionnaire.
results A clinically relevant alcohol use disorder was present in at least 10% of the patients. Less than a quarter of these disorders was recognized during intake. The brief self-report questionnaire showed good predictive validity for dsm-iii-r and icd-10 diagnosis alcohol dependence and for the icd-10 diagnosis harmful use.
conclusions Alcohol use disorders are quite prevalent among psychiatric outpatients and most of these disorders are not recognized during regular intake. Systematic use of a brief selfreport questionnaire can improve the recognition and treatment of alcohol disorders in this population.

keywords alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence, mental health services, prevalence, screening