High rates of substance abuse exist among veterans with mental illness

A new study published in The American Journal on Addictions reveals that Veterans who suffer from mental health disorders also have high rates of substance use disorders.

Led by Ismene Petrakis, MD, of Yale University School of Medicine, researchers used national administrative data from the Department of Veterans Affairs to examine rates of disorders among Veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan who were also diagnosed with PTSD and other .

A total of 1,001,996 VA patients were diagnosed with one of the six designated mental disorders. The rates of substance use disorders among those with mental illness ranged from 21-35%.

Results show that there were high rates of substance use disorders found among veterans with mental illness, with the highest rates of substance abuse occurring among those with bipolar disorder and .

"Our findings may be useful in program planning and for understanding the needs of veterans of different eras," Petrakis notes. "For example, in determining the needs of veterans from the current conflicts, it seems that those with serious are particularly in need of services to address a comorbid substance use disorder."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Returning troops face both physical and mental challenges

Sep 20, 2010

Is the US health system comprehensively meeting the needs of returning veterans? With the recent attention to mental illness in returning soldiers, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in particular, little research ...

Metabolic syndrome a risk for veterans with PTSD

Jan 08, 2009

Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are more likely to have metabolic syndrome than veterans without PTSD, according to a study led by Pia Heppner, Ph.D., psychologist with the University of California, San ...

Recommended for you

A blood test for suicide?

2 hours ago

Johns Hopkins researchers say they have discovered a chemical alteration in a single human gene linked to stress reactions that, if confirmed in larger studies, could give doctors a simple blood test to reliably predict a ...

Could summer camp be the key to world peace?

17 hours ago

According to findings from a new study by University of Chicago Booth School of Business Professor Jane Risen, and Chicago Booth doctoral student Juliana Schroeder, it may at least be a start.

Gender disparities in cognition will not diminish

Jul 28, 2014

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, investigated the extent to which improvements in living conditions and educational opportunities over a person's life affect cognitive abilities and th ...

Facial features are the key to first impressions

Jul 28, 2014

A new study by researchers in the Department of Psychology at the University of York shows that it is possible to accurately predict first impressions using measurements of physical features in everyday images of faces, such ...

User comments