Title : Prescribing psychiatric medications in alcohol use disorders and other addictions Risks and avoiding risk
Depression, anxiety, impulsivity, difficulty concentrating, mood swings and occasionally psychotic symptoms are recognised symptoms in addiction to mind-altering substances.Sufferers who protect their use of the substance may precipitate GPs and psychiatrists into inappropriate psychiatric diagnosis and thus unhelpful prescribing. Powerful antidepressants, antipsychotics, stimulants and anti-epileptic drugs get prescribed and their effects can confuse the clinical picture; in the case of SSRIs and some antipsychotics relapse rates in alcoholism can be increased. Management requires explanation to referrers and patients, and collaboration between the treating team and the patient to adjust or discontinue unnecessary medications. The upsurge in diagnosis of ‘ADHD’ in substance use disorders is not accompanied by evidence for the efficacy of stimulants in treating these disorders and prescriptions are often abused. A study shows stimulants can be discontinued without risk.