Aim: This study investigates the characteristics of older patients with substance abuse disorders admitted to a psychiatric department serving about 250.000 inhabitants. Methods: The clinical diagnoses were made according to ICD-10. The data of the patients with substance abuse were compared to a matched sample of psychiatric inpatients without substance abuse as well as to a group of former substance abusers with long-term abstinence. Results: 19.3 % of the 941 patients aged > 65 years showed current substance abuse, 9.4 % consumed alcohol, 7.9 % took benzodiazepines or z-drugs (zolpidem and zopiclone), and 7.0 % smoked tobacco. Multiple substance abuse was rather common (30.8 %). About 85 % of the substance abusers had psychiatric comorbidity, and about 30 % showed severe withdrawal symptoms. As with the rest of the patients, somatic multimorbidity was present in about 70 % of the substance abusers. Remarkable was the lower rate of dementia in current substance abusers. Conclusion: These results underscore that substance abuse is still a challenge in the psychiatric inpatient treatment of older people.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)