ARTICLESTreating the “Unhealthy Alcohol User” on Medical Wards Beyond WithdrawalRIVEST, JACYNTHE MD; JUTRAS-ASWAD, DIDIER MD, MSc; SHAPIRO, PETER A. MDAuthor Information RIVEST: Columbia University Medical Center, New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY, and Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal, Montreal, Canada; JUTRAS-ASWAD: Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal, Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal Research Center, and Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City, NY; SHAPIRO: Columbia University Medical Center, New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York. This research project was supported by the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal Research Fellowship Award (DJA). The authors alone are responsible for the contents and writing of this article. The authors report no proprietary or commercial interest in any product mentioned or concept discussed in this article. We thank Ms. Camille Brochu for her assistance with manuscript editing. Please send correspondence to: Jacynthe Rivest, MD, Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM), St-Luc Hospital, 1058 St-Denis Street, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2X 3J4 [email protected] Journal of Psychiatric Practice: May 2013 - Volume 19 - Issue 3 - p 213-226 doi: 10.1097/01.pra.0000430505.52391.48 Buy Metrics Abstract Background. Alcohol use disorders (AUDs) are common among patients admitted to general hospitals. Unfortunately, AUDs often go undetected and untreated. Psychiatrists are frequently called upon to assist in the management of cases involving alcohol withdrawal. However, there is a dearth of knowledge regarding potential therapeutic approaches to AUDs beyond the acute withdrawal stage. Objective. This article presents an overview of the epidemiology, clinical characteristics, and treatment of AUDs on medical wards, with a specific focus on the post alcoholwithdrawal phase. Method. This article is based on a survey of the published literature on AUDs and their treatment in the medical ward using the PubMed database. Results. Various screening tools are available to facilitate the detection of AUDs. Among non-medically ill patients, brief psychological interventions have proven to be effective in primary care and emergency room settings, while pharmacotherapy has been shown to reduce the risk of relapse. Existing data on the implementation of these interventions in the general hospital setting remain scarce. Conclusion. Current evidence suggests the need for additional research in this area with a view toward clarifying AUD treatment guidelines for medically ill inpatients. The hospital stay could provide a valuable opportunity to initiate interventions for AUDs with medically ill patients, leading to significant changes in alcohol use behaviors and better health-related outcomes. (Journal of Psychiatric Practice 2013;19:213–226) Copyright © 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.