Substance use is ubiquitous among medically ill patients. The 2008 National Survey on Drug Abuse and Health survey estimated that 20.1 million Americans aged 12 years or older (8% of the US population) had used an illicit drug during the preceding month. Some licit substances also create havoc. The survey found that slightly more than half (56%) of Americans reported being current drinkers of alcohol. A total of 6.2 million (2.5%) Americans used prescription-type psychotherapeutic drugs for nonmedical purposes and 70.9 million Americans (or 28.4%) used tobacco during the survey period. Substance abuse problems were diagnosed in up to 36% of medically hospitalized patients for whom a psychiatric consultation was requested. Given how prevalent the use of substances is among the medically ill and their potential effect on comorbid medical conditions, it is important for physicians to be mindful of their prevalence and presentation. This article covers the presenting symptoms of intoxication and withdrawal states, addresses the acute management of the most commonly encountered substances, and summarizes all others in a table.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.mcna.2010.08.010
View details for Web of Science ID 000284079600009
View details for PubMedID 20951277