The prevalence of substance use disorders and associated characteristics among patients admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Botswana

Int J Psychiatry Med. 2023 Jul;58(4):339-357. doi: 10.1177/00912174231156027. Epub 2023 Feb 8.


Objective: Substance use disorders (SUDs) have increased substantially across the globe, and has become one of the world's most significant public health and socioeconomic challenge. This study examined the prevalence and patterns of substance use disorders among patients admitted to the main psychiatric hospital in Botswana, the Sbrana Psychiatric Hospital.

Method: This was a cross-sectional study of patients admitted to a major psychiatric hospital in Botswana. SUDs were assessed using the Alcohol, Smoking, and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST) v13.0. Bivariate analysis was conducted to determine the association between socio-demographic characteristics and SUDs. Multivariate logistic regression was used to control for confounders.

Results: The final analysis involved 101 patients. Participants ranged in age from 18-60 years, and over half (59.4%) were male. The majority of participants (85.1%) had used potentially addicting substances at least once during their lifetime, with 63.4% having current substance use disorders. The most frequently used substances were tobacco, cannabis, alcohol, and cocaine at 58.4%, 42.6%, 34.7% and 12.8% respectively. SUDs were more common among participants who were male, ages 18-35 years, single, had a tertiary education, or were unemployed.

Conclusions: There is a high prevalence of substance use and SUDs among psychiatric patients in Botswana. Screening for and interventions to manage SUDs should be part of routine care at psychiatric health care facilities in this country. Consideration should be given to the screening of all patients admitted to psychiatric hospitals in Botswana for SUDs using the ASSIST.

Keywords: Substance use; alcohol use; cannabis use; cocaine use; inpatient psychiatric hospitalization; substance use disorder; tobacco use.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Botswana / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Psychiatric*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Substance-Related Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Young Adult