Comorbid psychopathology in adolescents and young adults treated for substance use disorders: a review

Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2006 Sep;15(6):319-28. doi: 10.1007/s00787-006-0535-6.


Objective: In a recent review, the prevalence of comorbid psychiatric disorders in non-treated adolescents and young adults with substance use disorders (SUD) in the general population was summarized. This review looks into the prevalence of psychiatric comorbidity in adolescents and young adults treated for SUD.

Method: A computerized literature search was conducted resulting in ten eligible studies.

Results: The prevalence of comorbid psychiatric disorders varied from 61% to 88%. Externalizing disorders, especially Conduct Disorder (CD), were most consistently linked to SUD in treatment seeking adolescents. Girls are distinguished by their high rate of comorbid internalizing disorders.

Conclusions: Comparison with data from community and juvenile justice studies shows an ascending trend of comorbidity rates of externalizing disorders from community to clinical and finally to juvenile justice samples. It seems that young addicts with comorbid disorders are at high risk of ending up in the juvenile justice system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Prevalence
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*