Inpatient Addiction Consult Service: Expertise for Hospitalized Patients with Complex Addiction Problems

Med Clin North Am. 2018 Jul;102(4):587-601. doi: 10.1016/j.mcna.2018.03.001.


Substance use disorders are highly prevalent and are a large driver of costly inpatient medical care; however, historically the substance use disorder has gone unaddressed during an inpatient stay. Inpatient addiction consult services are an important intervention to use the reachable moment of hospitalization to engage patients and initiate addiction treatment. Addiction consultation involves taking an addiction-specific history, motivational interviewing, withdrawal symptom management, and initiation of long-term pharmacotherapy. Addiction consult services have the potential to decrease readmissions and utilization costs for medical systems and improve substance-related outcomes for patients.

Keywords: Addiction; Consult service; Hospitalized patient; Inpatient management; Substance use disorder; Withdrawal.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / diagnosis
  • Alcoholism / therapy
  • Diagnostic Tests, Routine
  • Hospitalization*
  • Humans
  • Inpatients*
  • Mass Screening / organization & administration
  • Medical History Taking
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy*