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Substance Abuse, Mood Disorders Widespread

Prevalence of Co-Occurrence Is Significant

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Updated August 03, 2004

Substance abuse and mood and anxiety disorders that arise independently of substance abuse and withdrawal are some of the most common psychiatric disorders in the United States, according to an article in the August 2004 issue of The Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

According to information in the article, substance use and mood and anxiety disorders are widespread in the general population and are associated with substantial societal and personal costs.

Bridget F. Grant, Ph.D., Ph.D., of the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md., and colleagues investigated the prevalence and co-occurrence of alcohol and drug use disorders and independent mood and anxiety disorders (not caused by substance use or general medical conditions).

The researchers looked at the results of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism's National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), a major national survey of 43,093 non-institutionalized United States residents aged 18 or older. The survey was conducted in 2001-2002 and asked about substance use and mood and anxiety disorders over the previous 12 months.

Study Confirms Association Between Disorders

The researchers found that the prevalences of independent mood and anxiety disorders in the U.S. population were 9.21 percent and 11.08 percent, respectively. The rate of substance use disorders was 9.35 percent. Additionally, they found that "Only a few individuals with mood or anxiety disorders were classified as having only substance-induced disorders," but that associations between substance use disorders and independent mood and anxiety disorders were significant.

"The major findings of this study document the extremely high rates of substance use disorders and independent mood and anxiety disorders in the U.S. population, and confirm the strength of associations between them," the authors write.

"Furthermore, about 20 percent of all persons in the general population with a current substance use disorder had at least one current independent mood disorder and 18 percent had at least one current independent anxiety disorder," write the researchers. "Similarly, about 20 percent of the individuals with at least one current independent mood disorder had a comorbid substance use disorder, while about 15 percent of the individuals with at least one 12-month independent anxiety disorder had a substance use disorder."

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