Help-seeking by substance dependants presenting to healthcare professionals in the Free State Province

P M van Zyl, C A Gagiano, W F Mollentze, J S Snyman, G Joubert

Abstract


Introduction. Current data regarding treatment needs in South Africa for substance dependence are based on admissions to specialised treatment centres. The data therefore do not include patients presenting to independent healthcare workers and state hospitals.

Aim. The aim of this study was to investigate help-seeking behaviour for substance dependence disorders from the perspective of healthcare professionals at various levels of the referral chain in Free State Province. Design. A descriptive study was performed.

Setting. Treatment environments in Free State Province accessible to substance-dependent persons. Participants. General practitioners, private psychiatrists, prescribing healthcare professionals at state hospitals and treatment centres, and non-prescribing therapists responsible for management of substance-dependent persons.

Measurements. A questionnaire was used to determine the level of help-seeking experienced by the participants regarding various classes of psycho-active substances.

Findings. The presentation of alcohol, cannabis, opioid, benzodiazepine, ecstasy, cocaine and inhalant dependency at general practitioners, private psychiatrists, treatment centres and non-prescribing therapists was compared. Different patterns of help-seeking for substance dependence from the various professional groups were detected. Regarding alcohol dependence, 40.3% of private general medical practitioners reported being confronted with alcohol dependence at least once per month, compared with 100% of treatment centre representatives and private psychiatrists, 70.6% of state hospitals and 53.8% of non-prescribers. State hospitals reported the highest frequency for contact with cases of cannabis dependence, compared with the other professional groups, while psychiatrists reported the highest contact with cases involving benzodiazepine, cocaine and ecstasy. Therapists reported a higher level of contact with inhalant dependence, while this group virtually never presented at general practitioners and private psychiatrists.

Conclusion. Help-seeking data can be used in conjunction with other data, such as treatment demand data, to inform and adapt policies and practice. Variations in the manifestation of help-seeking behaviour at various groups may be important pointers to conditions that influence help-seeking, and therefore should be investigated further.


Full Text:

PDF HTML


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v18i3.352

Submitted: 16 February 2012
Published: 01 August 2012




African Online Scientific Information Systems (Pty) Ltd t/a AOSIS
Reg No: 2002/002017/07
RSA Tel: 086 1000 381
International Tel: +27 21 975 2602
15 Oxford Street, Durbanville, Cape Town, 7550, South Africa
publishing(AT)aosis.co.za replace (AT) with @

All articles published in this journal are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license, unless otherwise stated.
Website design & content: ©2018 AOSIS (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved. No unauthorised duplication allowed.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get specific, domain-collection newsletters detailing the latest CPD courses, scholarly research and call-for-papers in your field.

Subscribe

South African Journal of Psychiatry    |    ISSN: 1608-9685 (PRINT)    |    ISSN: 2078-6786 (ONLINE)