Primary Article

Alcoholism Among Indigent Inpatients: Identification and Intervention by Internal Medicine Residents

Authors: FREDERICK P. CERISE MD, ISABEL C. SCARINCI MA, MPH, ROBERT THIBODAUX MD, MARLA CANNATELLA MD, STEVE STARK BS, PHILLIP J. BRANTLEY PhD

Abstract

Abstract Background. This study examined alcoholism identification and interventions by internal medicine residents, determined the prevalence of alcoholism among indigent inpatients, and examined some variables related to alcoholism in this population Methods. The alcohol abuse and dependence section of the Diagnostic Interview Schedule was administered to 197 inpatients, and chart audits were done Results. The obtained prevalence of alcoholism was 17%. Residents identified current alcohol abuse among 71% of current alcoholics, 17% of past alcoholics, and 3% of nonalcoholics. Sixty-two percent of alcoholics identified by the residents did not receive advice or referral, 13% received advice, 17% were referred to Alcoholics Anonymous, and 8% were referred to an inpatient facility Conclusions. Our results suggest that although residents' identification of alcoholism is satisfactory, it is necessary to improve their rates of intervention. The profile of the alcoholic inpatients in this study includes demographics, presence of chronic illnesses, and utilization of medical services as compared with nonalcoholics

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