Comorbid Populations | Adolescents | Women | Older Adults
The co-occurrence of substance abuse and psychiatric disorders
is a complex and common phenomenon. The National Institute of Mental
Health Epidemiologic Catchment Area (ECA) study and the National
Comorbidity Study (NCS) are two large epidemiological surveys that
have evaluated the prevalence of comorbid psychiatric and substance use
disorders in community samples. In the ECA study, 45% of
individuals with alcohol use disorders had at least one co-occurring
psychiatric disorder (Regier et al. 1990). Likewise,
in the NCS, 78% of alcohol-dependent men and 86% of
alcohol-dependent women met lifetime criteria for another psychiatric
disorder, including drug dependence (Kessler et al. 1996).
The co-occurrence of psychiatric and alcohol use disorders is clinically
important because comorbidity has a negative impact on the course,
treatment outcome, and prognosis of both syndromes.