Psychiatric comorbidity and gender differences of persons incarcerated for methamphetamine abuse in Taiwan


Dr Chih-Ken Chen, Department of Psychiatry, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, 222, Mai-Chin Road, Keelung, 204 Taiwan. Email:


Abstract  Methamphetamine (MAP) abuse has been common in Taiwan for the past decade. The purpose of the present study was to investigate MAP abuse in Taiwan, with specific attention to psychiatric comorbidity and gender differences. A total of 325 MAP abuse subjects (180 male, 145 female) from a detention center in Taipei were assessed with the Diagnostic Interview for Genetic Studies. The following were studied: drug use behavior, treatment-seeking behavior, lifetime prevalence of mood disorders, MAP psychosis, alcohol use disorders, pathological gambling and antisocial personality. The MAP-abuse subjects in Taiwan had high psychiatric morbidity and low access to mental health services. There also exist certain differences in the prevalence of psychiatric illnesses and treatment-seeking behavior between male and female subjects. Compared with their male counterparts, more female subjects reported experience of mental disturbance and experience of psychiatric treatment. The female subjects more commonly reported suicidal behaviors than the male subjects.