The optimal treatment of patients with substance use disorders (SUDs) requires an awareness of their comorbid mental disorders and vice versa. The prevalence of comorbidity in first-time-admitted SUD patients has been insufficiently studied. Diagnosing comorbidity in substance users is complicated by symptom overlap, symptom fluctuations, and the limitations of the assessment methods. The aim of this study was to diagnose all mental disorders in substance users living in a single catchment area, without any history of treatment for addiction or psychiatric disorders, admitted consecutively to the specialist health services. The prevalence of substance-induced versus substance-independent disorders according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), in SUD patients will be described.
First-time consecutively admitted patients from a single catchment area, aged 16 years or older, admitted to addiction clinics or departments of psychiatry as outpatients or inpatients will be screened for substance-related problems using the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test and the Drug Use Disorder Identification Test. All patients with scores above the cutoff value will be asked to participate in the study. The patients included will be diagnosed for SUD and other axis I disorders by a psychiatrist using the Psychiatric Research Interview for Substance and Mental Disorders. This interview was designed for the diagnosis of primary and substance-induced disorders in substance users. Personality disorders will be assessed according to the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV axis II disorders. The Symptom Checklist-90-Revised, the Inventory of Depressive Symptoms, the Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale, the Young Mania Rating Scale, and the Angst Hypomania Check List will be used for additional diagnostic assessments. The sociodemographic data will be recorded with the Stanley Foundation's Network Entry Questionnaire. Biochemical assessments will reveal somatic diseases that may contribute to the patient's symptoms.
This study is unique because the material represents a complete sample of first-time-admitted treatment seekers with SUD from a single catchment area. Earlier studies have not focused on first-time-admitted patients, so chronically ill patients, may have been overrepresented in those samples. This study will contribute new knowledge about mental disorders in first-time-admitted SUD patients.