Psychiatr Prax 2012 Aug 11;39(6):275-9. Epub 2012 Jun 11.
Klinik für Psychiatrie, Psychotherapie und Psychosomatik, Vivantes Klinikum Hellersdorf, Berlin.
Objective: Due to demographic changes there will be a fraction of elderly patients with substance use disorders. However, only a few data have been published about elderly abusers of prescription drugs. Since substance abuse is frequently comorbid with psychiatric disorders, treatment in a psychiatric hospital is often needed. In this explorative study elderly people with prescription drug abuse who required psychiatric inpatient treatment should be characterized.
Methods: This study was part of the gerontopsychiatry study Berlin (Gepsy-B), an investigation of the data of all older inpatients (≥ 65 years) admitted to a psychiatric hospital within a period of 3 years.
Results: Among 1266 documented admissions in 110 cases (8.7 %) (mean age: 75.7 ± 7.1 years) prescription drug abuse, mostly of benzodiazepines was diagnosed. Females showed benzodiazepine abuse more often than males. In only a small proportion of the cases the reason for admission was withdrawal of prescribed drugs. 85.5 % suffered from psychiatric comorbidity, mostly depression. As risk factors for abuse depressive symptoms (OR: 3.32) as well as concurrent nicotine (OR: 2.69) or alcohol abuse (OR: 2.14) were calculated.
Conclusions: Psychiatric inpatient treatment was primarily not necessary because of prescription drug abuse but because of other psychopathological symptoms.