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 Table of Contents    
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 55  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 405-407
Alcohol use among in-patients of a medical college hospital in Delhi

Department of Community Medicine, Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, India

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Date of Web Publication25-Oct-2013

How to cite this article:
Thilakan VC, Rasania SK. Alcohol use among in-patients of a medical college hospital in Delhi. Indian J Psychiatry 2013;55:405-7

How to cite this URL:
Thilakan VC, Rasania SK. Alcohol use among in-patients of a medical college hospital in Delhi. Indian J Psychiatry [serial online] 2013 [cited 2021 Sep 21];55:405-7. Available from:


Alcohol-related medical disorders affect virtually all tissues of the body and represent a major but neglected public health issue. [1] A Hospital is an appropriate place to intervene alcohol use. We did this study to determine the extent of alcohol use among hospital inpatients in a medical college hospital.

A cross sectional study with a study population of 402 patients was done using purposive sampling method. A questionnaire to collect the socio demographic characteristics, alcohol consumption characteristics (data like type of alcohol, initiation age, whether wants to quit drinking) and the AUDIT [2] was used to identify persons with hazardous, harmful and dependent level of alcohol consumption. The questionnaire was pre tested in the ward during the Pilot phase and the translated questionnaire was back translated to ensure validity. The questionnaires were administered in Hindi. All the wards in the hospital premises with the exclusion of obstetrics and paediatrics were visited and study subjects interviewed. Data was collected over a period of one week. Critically ill patients (Patients on ventilators, patients who were unconscious and those on other life saving equipments), un cooperative patients i.e., those who refused to answer or gave incomplete answers, patients who could not understand the interviewer's language, patients who were unavailable on their beds at the time of visit to the given ward, incomplete forms and questionnaires were excluded. Data was analyzed using SPSS.

The characteristics of the study population and that of alcohol users vis-a-vis non users are as shown in the [Table 1].
Table 1. Distribution of alcohol users and non users by socio demographic characteristics

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The definitions used are (a) Users were defined as individuals who are currently using any of the alcohol containing products, (b) Past users, who are currently not using alcohol containing substances and who have not used such products for the period of last one year, c) Non users, individuals who have never used alcohol in any form till date and past users were included in this definition as well. A large majority of the patients were life time abstainers (77%) and 1.3% were past users. The extent of present users of alcohol among hospital inpatients was found to be 21.6%. Only 9% of the women interviewed were present drinkers when compared to 31% of males. The user was most likely to be in the 21-40 yrs age group (11.2%), married (16%), hindu (20%), with little education (7.5%) and unskilled worker (7.2%). The most common type of drink consumed was tharra (47%, a locally made alcohol beverage) followed by whisky (28%), beer (11%) and rum (8%). Though 20-25 years was the most common age group (36%) of starting alcohol use, a large proportion started use at 15-20 yrs (26%) and more than 25 yrs (31%), with a noteworthy 7% who started at 10-15 yrs. 33% of the users had been drinking alcohol for more than 15 yrs and history of duration less than 5yrs was 29% and 10-15 yrs was 25%. On probing into the reasons for drinking 20% said they drank on occasions, 17% said it was due to physical stress, 16% mentioned they drank due to mental stress, 15% said it was due to peer pressure and 7% were dependent.

The 8+ AUDIT score to assess risks of alcohol drinking was made use of. [2] Majority of the users (48%) were harmful drinkers, 29% had hazardous drinking and 3% were dependent. 20% of the drinkers were non- problem drinkers with nil risk. 50% of men were harmful drinkers vis-a-vis 40% of women. Although overall user of alcohol consumption is low among women, in this study group hazardous level of drinking (40%) among women was more prevalent than among men (26%). More than half of the graduate (56%) users were hazardous drinkers. Most of subjects (67%) in the age group of >81 years had hazardous levels of drinking. More than half (55.2%) want to quit alcohol consumption.

Previous Indian studies have shown the prevalence rate to be around 14.6-23.3% among male hospital in-patients [3],[4],[5] whereas this study shows a prevalence of 30.5%. A Community survey had showed that just less than one third of males in the 15-54 years age groups drink alcohol in India [6] which corresponds well with the prevalence among males in the present hospital based study (31%). Report that alcohol use is on the rise in India and there is a change in the pattern and trends of alcohol use in India [7] is in keeping with the present study which also shows that 7% of the users had started drinking at an age as early as 10-15 years and hazardous drinking is more common among women.

This hospital based study shows that alcohol use is an important problem among hospitalised patients. It also shows that appropriate enquiry can reveal this problem easily. It is known that even brief interventions are effective to reduce alcohol consumption. [8] Upon discovering alcohol use, patients should receive atleast brief interventions like counselling.They may also be referred for alcohol related interventions, if required. Similar highlight of the problem amongst hospitalized patients if replicated would lend better understanding of the country wide situation.

   Acknowledgment Top

We thank the seventh semester students of Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital for their coordination during the phase of data collection.

   References Top

1.Global Status Report on Alcohol 2004. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2004. Available from: [Last accessed on 2012 January 8].  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Babor TF, Higgins-Biddle JC, Saunders JB, Monteiro MG. A U D I T. The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test. Guidelines for Use in Primary Care. 2 nd ed.: World Health Organization; 2001. Available from: [Last accessed on 2013 July 17].  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Sampath SK, Chand PK, Murthy P. Problem drinking among male inpatients in a rural general hospital. Indian J Community Med 2007;32:93.  Back to cited text no. 3
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4.Sri EV, Raguram R, Srivastava M. Alcohol problems in a general hospital: A prevalence study. J Indian Med Assoc 1997;95:505-6.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Babu RS, Sengupta SN. A study of problem drinkers in a general hospital. Indian J Psychiatry 1997;39:13-7.  Back to cited text no. 5
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6.National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3), 2005-06, India: Key Findings. Mumbai: IIPS.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Prasad R. Alcohol use on the rise in India. Lancet 2009;373:17-8.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Tsai YF, Tsai MC, Lin YP, Chen CY. Brief intervention for problem drinkers in a Chinese population: a randomized controlled trial in a hospital setting.Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2009;33:95-101.  Back to cited text no. 8

Correspondence Address:
Vinitha C Thilakan
Department of Community Medicine, Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5545.120572

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  [Table 1]