Risk Factors Associated with Substance Abuse among Patients with Schizophrenia: Data from the National Mental Health Registry (NMHR) in Malaysia
Aisha Bhimla, Abqariyah Yahya, Salina Abdul Aziz, Ismael Hoare

Objective: To measure the prevalence of substance abuse and the associated risk factors among newly diagnosed patients with schizophrenia. Methods: The National Mental Health Registry (NMHR) in Malaysia contains a database of newly diagnosed patients with schizophrenia (N=4854) from 2003-2005. A Schizophrenia Notification Form was filled out by the treating physician and patients were evaluated on substance type and use within the past 6 months. Demographic information, clinical history, family history of schizophrenia, circumstances of coming into contact with obtaining psychiatric services, and type of care setting were also recorded. Results: The prevalence of substance abuse among patients was 16% (n=756). The factors significantly associated with substance abuse were those under 25 years of age, being a Malaysian citizen and being brought into seek psychiatric services by the police. Protective risk factors included female, being a student, experiencing chronic versus acute symptoms of schizophrenia, and patients within the outpatient clinic or community psychiatric services versus inpatients. Conclusion: The data demonstrate that younger individuals particularly men, brought by police and schizophrenic hospitalized patients were predictors for substance use. These findings expand knowledge on the factors contributing to the co morbidity of substance abuse and schizophrenia in Malaysia.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/ijhs.v4n1a5