Traumatic brain injury and substance misuse: a systematic review of prevalence and outcomes research (1994-2004)

Neuropsychol Rehabil. 2006 Oct;16(5):537-60. doi: 10.1080/09602010500231875.


A systematic review of the evidence on substance misuse prevalence in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and outcomes associated with this population is presented. Building upon an earlier review of the area by Corigan (1995), this review is limited to research published between 1994 and 2004. Psycinfo and Medline abstract databases were searched for English-language publications citing research from Western countries on the epidemiology and outcomes of adult TBI patients (aged 15 years or older). The majority of reviewed studies were undertaken in the USA and the investigation foci and methods used were multifarious, constraining the generalisation of the review findings. Prevalence for alcohol intoxication at time of injury in the review was found to be almost identical to that in Corrigan's review: 37-51% and 36-51%, respectively. Pre-TBI history of alcohol misuse was found to be less prevalent in the present as opposed to Corrigan's review: 37-51% and 55-66%, respectively. Outcome findings were mixed (also found by Corrigan), but mainly in the expected direction of poorer outcomes (neurological, medical, neuropsychological, and functional) in patients with pre-TBI substance misuse. Further research and implications for services are outlined.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Brain Injuries / etiology
  • Databases as Topic
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Humans
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Prevalence
  • Research / statistics & numerical data*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*