Prescribers´ of psychotropic drugs experiences and reflections on use and misuse of alcohol and psychotropic drugs among older people: A qualitative study
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJohannessen, A., Helvik, A.-S., Engedal, K., Ulstein, I., & Sørlie, V. (2015). Prescribers´of psychotropic drugs experiences and reflections on use and misuse of alcohol and psychotropic drugs among older people: A qualitative study. Quality in Primary Care, 23(3), 134-140.
Background: Studies published the past ten years revealed that use and misuse of alcohol and psychotropic drugs is an increasing phenomenon among older people (aged 65 years and above). Aim: The objective of the study was to investigate general practitioners’ (GPs) experiences and reflections on use and misuse of alcohol and psychotropic drugs among older people, and to what extent this is an issue in the treatment of them. Method: Qualitative interviews with 11 GPs were performed during 2013 and 2014. The data were analysed by using the phenomenological hermeneutic method. Findings: The first theme that arose was the GPs’ experiences with and reflections of the older people’s situations and their use and misuse of alcohol and psychotropic drugs. This theme included three subthemes: older people’s situations, older people’s alcohol use, and older people’s psychotropic drug use. In the second theme, the GPs described their practice and attitudes towards use and misuse of alcohol and psychotropic drugs among older people. It included the subthemes: assessment of alcohol use and prescription of psychotropic drugs. Conclusion: The study revealed that the informants experienced numerous older people who have existential needs and mental health problems; such needs are not necessarily handled adequately by the GPs, their next of kin, or society. Alcohol use or wish for psychotropic drugs among older people is a possible way to minimize these difficulties. The GPs had a lack of routine concerning the assessment of alcohol use, whereas they were more restrictive when prescribing psychotropic drugs than earlier. Keywords: alcohol, general practitioners, geriatric psychiatry, interviews, misuse, older people, psychotropic drugs, qualitative studies.