The reliability of reports of recent psychoactive substance use at the time of admission to an acute mental health unit

Rhoderic K. Chung, Matthew M. Large, Graham A. Starmer, Bruce N. Tattam, Michael B. Paton, Olav B. Nielssen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The aim of this study was to examine the accuracy of patients' accounts of their psychoactive substance use in the week before admission to an acute mental health unit. Fifty consecutively admitted patients undertook a semistructured clinician-administered questionnaire for recent substance use. The results of the interview were compared to the results of gas chromatography mass spectrometry/ mass spectrometry. No patient refused to participate, 46 patients were able to complete the interview, and 48 patients provided a blood sample. Six patients had unreported cocaine or amphetamine in their blood. Cannabis and opiates were not detected in the blood of most of the patients who reported using these drugs. The self-reports of the use of prescription sedatives were inaccurate, but self-reports of recent use of caffeine, nicotine, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and carbamazepine had good overall reliability. Patient reports of recent illicit substance use at the point of admission were found to be unreliable, which may result in incorrect diagnosis and suboptimal treatment of both mental illness and substance-related disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)392-403
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Dual Diagnosis
Volume5
Issue number3-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cannabis
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Mental disorder
  • Psychosis
  • Reliability
  • Schizophrenia
  • Stimulants
  • Substance abuse

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