Home > Trends in alcohol and drug admissions to psychiatric facilities.

Long, Jean (2008) Trends in alcohol and drug admissions to psychiatric facilities. Drugnet Ireland , Issue 25, Spring 2008 , pp. 17-18.

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The annual report Activities of Irish psychiatric units and hospitals 2006, published by the Mental Health Research Unit of the Health Research Board in December 2007, shows that the total number of admissions to inpatient care has continued to fall.1

In 2006, 2,767 cases were admitted to psychiatric facilities with an alcohol disorder, of whom 851 were treated for the first time.1 Figure 1 presents the rates of first admission between 1990 and 2006 of cases with a diagnosis of alcohol disorder, per 100,000 of the population.1-5 It is notable that the rate decreased steadily between 1991 and 2004 and more than halved during the reporting period. The rate stabilised in 2004 and 2005, but decreased again in 2006. The trend since the early nineties reflects changes in alcohol treatment policy and practice, and the resultant increase in community-based and special residential alcohol treatment services. Of the 2,733 discharges with an alcohol disorder, just under 41% spent less than one week in hospital and 19% spent more than one month in hospital. Whether or not these admissions were appropriate, and in line with the recommendations of the mental health policy, A vision for change, could not be discerned from the report as the numbers with co-morbid illness were not reported.


 

In 2006, 663 cases were admitted to psychiatric facilities with a drug disorder, of whom 250 were treated for the first time.1 The report does not present data on drug use and psychiatric co-morbidity, so it is not possible to determine whether or not these admissions were appropriate. Figure 2 presents the rates of first admission between 1990 and 2006 of cases with a diagnosis of drug disorder, per 100,000 of the population.1-5 The rate increased steadily between 1990 and 1995, with a dip in 1996, and further annual increases between 1997 and 2001. The rate was almost three times higher in 2001 than it was in 1990. Notable dips in the rate occur in the census years 1996 and 2002, and can be partly explained by the
increased population figure used as the denominator in calculating the rate for those years.

The overall increase in the rate of drug-related first admissions between 1990 and 2001 reflects the increase in problem drug use in Ireland and its burden on the psychiatric services. The overall decrease in the rate since 2001 possibly reflects an increase in community-based specialised addiction services during this period. The increased rate in 2005 may be accounted for by the use of the 2002 census figure in calculating the rate. The decrease to 5.9 in 2006 reflects the new census figure used as denominator. Of the 659 discharges with a drug disorder, just under 48% spent less than one week in hospital and just over 17% spent more than one month in hospital. (Jean Long)

 
 
1. Daly A, Walsh D and Moran R (2007) Activities of Irish psychiatric units and hospitals 2006. Dublin: Health Research Board.
2. Daly A, Walsh D, Ward M and Moran R (2006) Activities of Irish psychiatric units and hospitals 2005. Dublin: Health Research Board.
3. Daly A, Walsh D, Comish J, Kartalova-O’Doherty Y, Moran R and O’Reilly A (2005) Activities of Irish psychiatric units and hospitals 2004. Dublin: Health Research Board.
4. Daly A, Walsh D, Moran R and Kartalova-O'Doherty Y (2004) Activities of Irish psychiatric services 2003. Dublin: Health Research Board.
5. Walsh D and Daly A (2004) Mental illness in Ireland 1750–2002: reflections on the rise and fall of institutional care. Dublin: Health Research Board.
Item Type:Article
Issue Title:Issue 25, Spring 2008
Date:2008
Page Range:pp. 17-18
Publisher:Health Research Board
Volume:Issue 25, Spring 2008
EndNote:View
Accession Number:HRB (Available)
Subjects:G Health and disease > State of health > Mental health
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Care by type of problem > Mental health care
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland
G Health and disease > Drugs and alcohol related disorder > Drugs and alcohol related mental disorder

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