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Comorbidity between substance use disorders and psychiatric conditions


Mark A. Shuckit, Department of Psychiatry (116 A), University of California, San Diego and the VA San Diego Healthcare System, 3350 La Jolla Village Drive, San Diego, CA 92161–2002, USA. E-mail:


Aims  To review information relevant to the question of whether substance-induced mental disorders exist and their implications.

Design and method  This paper utilized a systematic review of manuscripts published in the English language since approximately 1970 dealing with comorbid psychiatric and substance use disorders.

Findings  The results of any specific study depended on the definitions of comorbidity, the methods of operationalizing diagnostic criteria, the interview and protocol invoked several additional methodological issues. The results generally support the conclusion that substance use mental disorders exist, especially regarding stimulant or cannabinoid-induced psychoses, substance-induced mood disorders, as well as substance-induced anxiety conditions.

Conclusions  The material reviewed indicates that induced disorders are prevalent enough to contribute significantly to rates of comorbidity between substance use disorders and psychiatric conditions, and that their recognition has important treatment implications. The current literature review underscores the heterogeneous nature of comorbidity.