Leo Sher, M.D.
Our research report, “Demographic and clinical features of adolescents and young adults with alcohol-related disorders admitted to the psychiatric emergency room” was published 15 years ago in the January-March 2006 issue of the International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health (1). The purposes of our study were to determine the prevalence of alcohol-related problems among the adolescents and young adults that came to the psychiatric emergency room and to describe the demographic and clinical characteristics of this population.
Psychiatric records of all 14-30-year-old individuals admitted to a psychiatric emergency room during a three-month period in 2003 were reviewed. Demographic and clinical data of individuals with and without alcohol-related problems were compared. We defined individuals with alcohol related problem as those with a diagnosis of alcohol intoxication, alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence.
During the three-month time period, 108 individuals between the age of 14 and 30 came to the psychiatric emergency room. 14 (13.2%) of these had alcohol-related problems. Alcohol-related problems tended to occur more in males (p = 0.05). The number of psychiatric diagnoses among those who had alcohol-related problems was significantly higher than among those who did not have alcohol-related problems (p = 0.002). Alcohol-related problems were found to be associated with personality disorders and misuse of other substances. 37.5% of those adolescents and young adults with alcohol-related problems had a personality disorder, while 13% of those without alcohol-related problems had a personality disorder (p = 0.03). 50% of those with alcohol-related problems consumed (an)other substance/s, while 12.0% of those patients without alcohol-related problems consumed (an)other substance/s (p < 0.001). Of the female adolescents and young adults with alcohol-related problems, 50% were admitted to psychiatric emergency room after an episode of self-poisoning.
We concluded that alcohol-related problems in young adults admitted to the psychiatric emergency room for acute psychiatric care were associated with greater psychiatric comorbidity, especially personality disorders. In females, alcohol-related problems may be associated with an increased risk for self-poisoning. The adequate detection of alcohol-related problems could promote earlier specific interventions tailored to alcohol-related problems among adolescents and young adults.
1. Carballo JJ, Oquendo MA, Garcia-Moreno M, Poza B, Giner L, Baca E, Zalsman G, Roche AM, Sher L. Demographic and clinical features of adolescents and young adults with alcohol-related disorders admitted to the psychiatric emergency room. Int J Adolesc Med Health. 2006 Jan-Mar;18(1):87-96. doi: 10.1515/ijamh.2006.18.1.87.