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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 70-76

Validated scales for substance use disorders in the geriatric population: A scoping review

1 Additional Professor, NDDTC, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, India
2 Scientist B (Medical), ICMR Project, NDDTC, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, India
3 Associate Professor, NDDTC, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Roshan Bhad
MD DNB, R No 4096, Department of Psychiatry, AIIMS, New Delhi - 110 029
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jgmh.jgmh_38_21

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Substance use disorders in the elderly population can be assessed through scales and questionnaires. These scales are used for not only screening for substance use disorders but also for assessment for improvement with time and/or intervention. Validity parameters of these scales help us know how do they perform during application in the clinical or community setting. The objective of the review was to (1) review available validated screening tools for substance use disorders, (2) summarize elderly-focused studies, and (3) provide recommendations for use in clinical care. We aimed to review the validated scales of substance use disorders in the geriatric population. We looked at PubMed and Web of Science databases for identifying English language peer-reviewed publications that reported at least one validity parameter for scale in geriatric patients with substance use disorders. We identified 22 studies, with majority of them focusing on alcohol use disorder. Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test and Cut Down, Annoyed, Guilty, and Eye-Opener Questionnaire (CAGE) were the most common scales used in the population. While most of the studies reported acceptable area under receiver operator curve, sensitivity, and specificity, some of the studies reported lower sensitivity/specificity at optimal cutoff. Validity parameters of various scales have been assessed in the geriatric population. Using suitable cutoffs, they can be useful in the screening of elderly individuals with substance-related problems, so that due evaluation and care can be provided. More instruments need to be assessed for validity to diagnose tobacco use disorders, benzodiazepine use disorders, and other substance use disorders.

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