Alcoholism among outpatients with psychiatric morbidity
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Out of 881 randomly selected outpatients in four rural district hospitals in Kenya who underwent a two stage screening procedure for a psychiatric disorder, 24.9 percent had psychiatric morbidity. Further analysis showed that 12.7 percent of them had an alcohol related disorder as defined by ICD-9 (WHO, 1978) under the categories 291 and 303. For the screening of alcoholic cases brief MAST was used. The author found this instrument a quick method for identifying potential alcoholics.At present, such cases go undetected and untreated. Some important issues related to alcohol drinking in rural Kenya are discussed. Most of our patients drank the locally brewed alcoholic beverages of variable ethanol contents. The health planners and primary health workers (PHW) will have to pay more attention to the widely prevalent alcohol abuse which seems to masquerade in various forms of physical, social or psychological problems. Indeed, more intensive training of the PHWs in detecting and advising alcoholics maybe the best method in the rural setting.