Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 50, Issue 8, pp 1267–1276 | Cite as

Substance use disorders in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depressive illness: a registry-based study

  • Ragnar NesvågEmail author
  • Gun Peggy Knudsen
  • Inger Johanne Bakken
  • Anne Høye
  • Eivind Ystrom
  • Pål Surén
  • Anne Reneflot
  • Camilla Stoltenberg
  • Ted Reichborn-Kjennerud
Original Paper



To compare the prevalence and pattern of comorbid substance use disorders (SUD) between patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depressive illness.


Data on presence of alcohol use disorder (AUD) and non-alcohol drug use disorder (DUD) were retrieved from the Norwegian Patient Register for individuals born between 1950 and 1989 who in the period 2009–2013 were diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or depressive illness according to the 10th version of the WHO International Classification of Diseases. The prevalence of AUD only, DUD only, or both was compared between men and women across age and diagnostic groups.


The prevalence of SUD was 25.1 % in schizophrenia (AUD: 4.6 %, DUD: 15.6 %, AUD and DUD: 4.9 %), 20.1 % in bipolar disorder (AUD: 8.1 %, DUD: 7.6 %, AUD and DUD: 4.4 %), and 10.9 % in depressive illness (AUD: 4.4 %, DUD: 4.3 %, AUD and DUD: 2.2 %). Middle-aged men with bipolar disorder had the highest prevalence of AUD (19.1 %) and young men with schizophrenia had the highest prevalence of DUD (29.6 %). Of the specific DUDs, all but sedative use disorder were more prevalent in schizophrenia than the other groups. Cannabis and stimulant use disorder was found among 8.8 and 8.9 %, respectively, of the men with schizophrenia.


The alarmingly high prevalence of DUD among young patients with severe mental disorders should encourage preventive efforts to reduce illicit drug use in the adolescent population.


Schizophrenia Bipolar disorder Depression Substance-related disorders Registry 



This project was funded by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. We thank Martin Mydske Nilsen for practical support.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ragnar Nesvåg
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gun Peggy Knudsen
    • 1
  • Inger Johanne Bakken
    • 1
  • Anne Høye
    • 1
    • 2
  • Eivind Ystrom
    • 1
  • Pål Surén
    • 1
  • Anne Reneflot
    • 1
  • Camilla Stoltenberg
    • 1
    • 3
  • Ted Reichborn-Kjennerud
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Norwegian Institute of Public HealthOsloNorway
  2. 2.Centre for Clinical Documentation and EvaluationRegional Health Authority of North NorwayTromsøNorway
  3. 3.Department of Global Public Health and Primary CareUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  4. 4.Institute of Clinical MedicineUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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