Demographic and clinical correlates of substance use disorders in first episode psychosis

Schizophr Res. 2018 Apr;194:4-12. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2017.06.039. Epub 2017 Jul 8.


Background: We assessed the prevalence and correlates of lifetime substance use disorders in people with first episode psychosis using the baseline data from the Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) Early Treatment Program study.

Methods: Research staff assessed 404 first episode patients at 34 community mental health centers across the United States with the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV for diagnoses of psychotic and substance use disorders. Logistic regression was used to evaluate the relationships between participant characteristics and lifetime substance use disorders, followed with generalized linear mixed-effects regression models to identify unique predictors of lifetime substance use disorders.

Results: Approximately one-third of participants reported recent alcohol use (36.6%) and cannabis use (30.7%), and one half (51.7%) met criteria for any lifetime alcohol or drug use disorder. Lifetime substance use disorders were associated with male gender, White race, higher excited (hyperactivity, mood lability, impulsivity, hostility, and uncooperativeness), psychotic and depressive symptoms, less impaired cognition, and greater perceived stigma. Gender, race, and excited symptoms were the most consistent unique predictors of lifetime substance use disorders found in multivariate analyses.

Conclusions: Half of first episode psychosis patients have co-occurring substance use disorders, which are associated with both more severe symptoms and greater perceptions of stigma. Programs aiming to serve these patients must have the skills and clinical strategies to help people with these unique characteristics.

Keywords: Alcohol; Cannabis; Drug; First episode; Schizophrenia; Substance use disorder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychotic Disorders / complications*
  • Psychotic Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Psychotic Disorders / psychology
  • Schizophrenia / complications*
  • Schizophrenia / epidemiology*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Young Adult