Objective: This study sought to determine how comorbidity of psychiatric and substance abuse disorders affects the likelihood of using mental health services. Method: The analysis was based on data on adults aged 18-54 years in the National Comorbidity Survey (N= 5,393). Users and nonusers of mental health and substance abuse services were compared in terms of their demographic characteristics, recent stressful life events, social support, parental history of psychopathology, self-medication, and symptoms of alcohol abuse/ dependence. Results: The prevalence of service utilization varied by diagnostic configurations. Comorbid psychiatric or alcohol disorders were stronger predictors of service utilization than a pure psychiatric or alcohol disorder. Factors predicting utilization of services differed for each disorder. Conclusions: Since comorbidity increases the use of mental health and substance abuse services, research on the relationship of psychiatric and alcohol-related disorders to service utilization needs to consider the coexistence of mental disorders. Attempts to reduce barriers to help seeking for those in need of treatment should be increased.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||American Journal of Psychiatry|
|State||Published - Aug 1999|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health