Alcohol and secure hospital patients: I. An examination of the nature and prevalence of alcohol problems in secure hospital patients
Hodge, John E.
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The extent and severity of alcohol problems experienced by mentally disordered patients admitted to maximum security hospitals, whilst not included in the criteria for admission, is undoubtedly of relevance and importance in planning the treatment and future disposal of these patients. The study to be described attempts to address such concerns by means of applying an extensive assessment approach with a substantial patient population drawn from three of the four Secure Hospitals within the United Kingdom (n=211). Measures utilised included semi-structured interview, standardised questionnaires and clinical reports contained in case records. Detailed information is provided on weekly consumption levels, problems related to drinking, severity of dependence on alcohol, and use of alcohol at the time of offences. Results highlighted not only the high prevalence, but the extreme severity of alcohol difficulties evident amongst the patient sample, as well as substantial use of alcohol at the time of offences. Future papers will explore further the characteristics of patients with a history of problem drinking and the possible relationship between alcohol and offending. This study represents the first major, detailed and comprehensive assessment of alcohol problems in an extensive sample of secure hospital patients. The implications of these findings for the development of therapeutic services and the future disposal of these patients is emphasised.