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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 57 (2015) 3, 192 - 201

Review article

Alcohol-induced psychotic disorder: a systematic literature review

C.P. Engelhard, G. Touquet, A. Tansens, J. De Fruyt

background From the second half of the 19th century eminent psychiatrists began referring to alcohol-induced psychotic disorder (aipd) as a specific alcoholic psychosis. Over the last decades interest in aipd seems to have declined: the last review dates form 1989.
aim To review the recent literature on aipd, revive interest in the disorder, evaluate the current scientific evidence and assess its clinical value.
method We performed a Medline search based on the following terms: ‘Psychoses, Alcoholic’ [Mesh] or ‘alcohol induced psychotic disorder’ or ‘alcoholic hallucinosis’ or ‘alcohol hallucinosis’. Our search was restricted to articles written in English or Dutch and published between 1-1-1988 and 31-1-2013.
results We found 164 papers, from which we selected 21 for further discussion. The quality of the papers selected was variable, most of the papers being the result of clinical research. The most important findings referred to epidemiology: 0.4% lifetime prevalence in the general population, 4.0% in patients with alcohol dependence. We found only limited evidence of psychopathological differentiation between delirium and primary psychotic disorder. Correct diagnosis of aipd is important because of the implications regarding the length and nature of the treatment: short or long course of antipsychotics, referral to a substance-abuse unit.
conclusion aipd has survived as a clinical entity. However, scientific evidence of this is limited. Further research is needed because it is vitally important that the patient receives the most appropriate treatment.

keywords alcohol hallucinosis, alcohol-induced psychotic disorder, delirium, schizophrenia