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Prevalence of substance use and association with psychiatric illness among patients in UYO, Nigeria

EE Abiama
F Abasiubong
KB Usen
UE Alexander


The purpose of this study was to investigate the pattern of substance use among inpatients of a Psychiatric Hospital in Uyo, Nigeria, to determine the association with onset of psychiatric illness. A total of 124 inpatients admitted into a Psychiatric Unit of the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital were assessed for substance use, using a modified form of a 117-item self-report instrument based on the World Health Organization guidelines for students’ substance-use surveys. Clinical interviews were also carried out with the patients and their relatives to corroborate the information volunteered by the patients in the questionnaire. A lifetime prevalence rate of 48.4% use of substances was found. The prevalence rate of current use of alcohol was 36.3%; cannabis 28.3%; cigarette 14.5%; Cocaine 0.8%; snuff/fumes 2.4%; Pain killers and kola nuts 1.6%. About 51.7% of the subjects used two or more substances. Substance use preceded first psychiatric episode in 29.6% of the participants; second in 42.9%; third in 50.0%; while 46.5% all relapses were preceded by alcohol/substance use. This study has shown that substance use is major risk factors for the development of psychiatric illnesses. Therefore, there is need for public enlightenment and routine assessment in order to prevent onset or exacerbation of psychiatric disorders.

Key words: Psychoactive substance; In-patients; Mental illness; Onset.