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A survey of opinions on the management of individuals who express suicidal ideation while intoxicated with alcohol

  • Rosemary McCaffery, Alyson Lee, Pramod Jauhar (a1) and Jan Scott (a2)
Abstract
Aims and Method

It was noted that approaches to the assessment and management of individuals intoxicated with alcohol who express suicidal ideation varied widely. This study explored what guidance is currently available and sought the opinions of 218 junior and senior psychiatrists.

Results

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has no specific guidelines on this issue, but the Medical Defence Union and Scottish Central Legal Office gave opinion regarding a psychiatrist's duty of care and clinical responsibilities. This information did not reflect the opinions of the psychiatrists canvassed. There was no consensus among the 65% of clinicians who responded to the survey.

Clinical Implications

There is a need for greater clarity and guidance on the management of individuals who are intoxicated and express acute suicidal ideation. Sharing of good practice guidelines and greater integration of local and national policies is needed. It is certainly a topic worthy of inclusion in all induction days for junior psychiatrists.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
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Law Society (2000) Law Society Directory of Solicitors and Barristers. London: The Law Society.
Law Society of Scotland (2000) Scots LawTimes. See http://www.wgreen.co.uk/slt/.
Medical Defence Union (2000) Advice Regarding Psychiatric Risk Assessment. London: MDU.
Murphy, G. & Wetzel, R. (1990) The lifetime risk of suicide in alcoholism. Archives of General Psychiatry, 47, 383392.
Patel, A., Roy, M. & Wilson, G. (1972) Self-poisoning and alcohol. Lancet, 2, 10991103.
Scottish Central Legal Office (2000) Advice on the Management of Clinical Risk. Edinburgh: Scottish Central Legal Office.
Suckas, J. & Lonnqvist, J. (1995) Suicide attempts in which alcohol is involved: a special group in general hospital emergency rooms. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 91, 3640.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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A survey of opinions on the management of individuals who express suicidal ideation while intoxicated with alcohol

  • Rosemary McCaffery, Alyson Lee, Pramod Jauhar (a1) and Jan Scott (a2)
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