Article

Identification and Treatment of Patients with Nicotine Problems in Routine Clinical Psychiatry Practice

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
American Journal on Addictions (Impact Factor: 1.74). 02/2010; 14(5):441-54. DOI: 10.1080/10550490500247123
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

The aim of this study is to assess the rates of nicotine problems diagnosed by psychiatrists, the characteristics of psychiatric patients who smoke, and the services provided to them in routine psychiatric practice. Data were obtained by asking psychiatrists participating in the American Psychiatric Institute for Psychiatric Research and Education's Practice Research Network to complete a self-administered questionnaire to provide detailed sociodemographic, clinical, and health plan information on three of their patients seen during routine clinical practice. A total of 615 psychiatrists provided information on 1,843 patients, of which 280 (16.6%) were reported to have a current nicotine problem. Of these, 9.1% were reported to receive treatment for nicotine dependence. Patients with nicotine problems were significantly more likely to be males, divorced or separated, disabled, and uninsured, and have fewer years of education. They also had significantly more co-morbid psychiatric disorders, particularly schizophrenia or alcohol/substance use disorders; a lower Global Assessment Functioning score; and poorer treatment compliance than their counterparts. The results suggest a very low rate of identification and treatment of nicotine problems among patients treated by psychiatrists, even though psychiatric patients who smoke seem to have more clinical and psychosocial stressors and more severe psychiatric problems than those who do not smoke. Programs should be developed to raise the awareness and ability of psychiatrists to diagnose and treat patients with nicotine problems, with a particular emphasis on the increased medical and psychosocial needs of psychiatric patients who smoke.

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    • "This might be true for the long-term hospitalized mentally ill but not for mentally ill in general and that needs more research. The causes of high prevalence of smoking in psychiatric hospitalized patients are multi-factorial: low social status (Rasul et al., 2001; Montoya et al., 2005), therapeutic effects of nicotine (Lawn et al., 2002), alleviation of antipsychotic therapy effects (Levin et al., 1996), calming effects of smoking (Spring et al., 2003) and hospital culture (Lawn et al., 2002; Dickens et al., 2005). "

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    • "Moreover, compared to other physicians, psychiatrists were among the least familiar with state funded tobacco treatment resources, thus leading to reduced utilization among mentally ill smokers (Steinberg et al. 2006). Despite over 10 year old recommendations for psychiatrists to treat tobacco in all their patients (APA 1996), most still do not (Peterson et al. 2003; Montoya et al. 2005; Himelhoch and Daumit 2003). Training the next generation of providers, and those professionals currently in practice is needed. "
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    • "In inpatient psychiatry, cigarettes were provided to patients, considered among the most effective forms of reinforcement, with some patients first starting to smoke while hospitalized (Hayworth, 1996; Holtzman, 1975; Robertson, 2000). Still to this day, most mental health training programs lack adequate instruction in treating tobacco dependence (American Psychiatric Nurses Association, 2008; Prochaska et al., 2006), and, likely related, psychiatric patients' tobacco dependence is rarely addressed in clinical practice (Himelhoch et al., 2004; Montoya et al., 2005; Phillips and Brandon, 2004; Prochaska et al., 2005). In a recent national survey, psychiatrists were the least likely to address tobacco use with their patients relative to other medical specialties (Association of American Medical Colleges, 2007). "
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