, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 175-192

Detection of substance use disorders in severely mentally ill patients

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Abstract

Severe mental illness is frequently complicated by substance use disorder. Approximately half of the severely mentally ill patients treated in acute care psychiatric settings have abused one or more of these substances. Despite the high rate of comorbidity, substance use disorders are generally not detected in acute care psychiatric settings, leading to incorrect diagnoses and ineffective treatments. The reasons for nondetection are complex, and research is needed to refine instruments and procedures for the detection of substance abuse in the severely mentally ill population. Nevertheless, clinicians can make better use of existing techniques of multimodal assessment to increase significantly the rate of accurate detection.

Presented at the annual convention of the American Psychiatric Association in New Orleans, LA, May, 1991.
This work was supported in part by a National Institute of Mental Health Level II Research Scientist Development Award, K02-MH-00839.