Of 41 chronic psychiatric patients between the ages of 19 and 39 seen at a community mental health center, 44 percent were current substance abusers, 29 percent had a history of substance abuse, and only 27 percent had little or no substance abuse history. The three subgroups were similar in diagnosis, gender, and age at first hospitalization. However, the persistent substance abusers had a psychiatric hospitalization rate more than twice as high as the other two groups, and for these patients substance abuse frequently preceded hospitalization. The author recommends that consideration be given to routinely testing all hospitalized young adult chronic patients for drug and alcohol abuse. He also suggests using outside sources to obtain information on substance abuse, since most patients deny abuse. He stresses the need for more data on the physical and psychological effects of abused substances on the young mental patient.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health