Nicotine, alcohol and drug dependence and psychiatric comorbidity. Results of a national household survey

Br J Psychiatry. 2001 Nov:179:432-7. doi: 10.1192/bjp.179.5.432.


Background: There is a well-recognised relationship between substance use disorders and other psychiatric disorders. This relationship has been well documented in a range of population-based studies.

Aims: This study aims to report on consumption patterns of and dependence on nicotine, alcohol and non-prescribed drugs and to report on the levels of psychiatric morbidity in these groups.

Method: A national household study of psychiatric morbidity was conducted in England and Wales. Psychiatric assessment was based on the Clinical Interview Schedule-Revised (CIS-R). Measures of nicotine, alcohol and drug use and dependence were obtained. This paper compares the levels of psychiatric morbidity in the non-dependent and the nicotine-, alcohol- and drug-dependent cases.

Results: Twelve per cent of the non-dependent population were assessed as having any psychiatric disorder compared with 22% of the nicotine-dependent, 30% of the alcohol-dependent and 45% of the drug-dependent population.

Conclusions: There is a clear relationship between dependence on nicotine, alcohol and drugs and other psychiatric morbidity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology
  • Diagnosis, Dual (Psychiatry)
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / epidemiology
  • Wales / epidemiology