Introduction and aims: Although psychiatric symptoms are frequently observed in methamphetamine (MA) users, little is known about the prevalence of psychiatric disorders in MA-dependent individuals. This is the first study to examine the association of psychiatric disorders with substance use and psychosocial functioning in a large sample of MA users 3 years after treatment. We predicted that psychiatric diagnoses and severity would be associated with substance use and poorer overall functioning over the 3 year post-treatment course.
Design and methods: Participants (N = 526) received psychosocial treatment for MA dependence as part of the Methamphetamine Treatment Project and were reassessed for psychosocial functioning and substance use at a mean of 3 years after treatment initiation. DSM-IV psychiatric diagnoses were assessed at follow-up using the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview. Psychosocial functioning was assessed using the Addiction Severity Index.
Results: Overall, 48.1% of the sample met criteria for a current or past psychiatric disorder other than a substance use disorder. Consistent with prior reports from clinical samples of cocaine users, this rate was largely accounted for by mood disorders, anxiety disorders and antisocial personality. Those with an Axis I psychiatric disorder evidenced increased MA use and greater functional impairment over time relative to those without a psychiatric disorder.
Discussion and conclusions: This initial investigation of psychiatric diagnoses in MA users after treatment indicates elevated rates of Axis I and II disorders in this population and underscores the need for integrated psychiatric assessment and intervention in drug abuse treatment settings.