Intensive Care Medicine

, 34:2136 | Cite as

Psychiatric disorders and the ICU: gaps and opportunities

  • Christoph PechlanerEmail author
  • Bruno Mégarbane
  • W. Wolfgang Fleischhacker

One of three ICU patients has a pre-existing psychiatric disorder, according to a retrospective analysis presented in this issue of Intensive Care Medicine [1]. Suchyta and coworkers report substance dependence (alcohol or drug addiction) in one of five ICU patients, and an identical rate of other psychiatric disorders, predominantly depression.

Do you know the percentage of patients with psychiatric disorders on your ICU? We do not. A systematic search in Medline yields a remarkable dearth of evidence for psychiatric disorders on intensive care units. Epidemiologic data on the whole spectrum of psychiatric disease seem to be limited to a single small report, on 96 consecutive admissions to a coronary care unit in Colombia [2]. Of specific conditions, only alcohol dependence has been studied in more detail [3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9].

In contrast to ICUs, epidemiology in the general European population has been defined with notable detail. The 1-year prevalence of any psychiatric disorder...


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christoph Pechlaner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bruno Mégarbane
    • 2
  • W. Wolfgang Fleischhacker
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Internal MedicineInnsbruck Medical University, University HospitalInnsbruckAustria
  2. 2.Réanimation Médicale et Toxicologique, Hôpital LariboisièreINSERM U705, Université Paris-DiderotParisFrance
  3. 3.Department of Biological PsychiatryInnsbruck Medical UniversityInnsbruckAustria

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