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Home > Substance use and psychiatric disorders in Irish adolescents: a cross-sectional study of patients attending substance abuse treatment service.

James, Philip and Smyth, Bobby P and Apantaku-Olajide, Tunde (2013) Substance use and psychiatric disorders in Irish adolescents: a cross-sectional study of patients attending substance abuse treatment service. Mental Health and Substance Use , 6 , (2) , pp. 124-132. 10.1080/17523281.2012.693519.

Little information exists on the levels of psychiatric disorders among substance abusing adolescents in Ireland. The aim of the study is examine the pattern of psychiatric disorders and explore for gender differences among adolescents with a substance use disorder (SUD) in Ireland.

A cross-sectional descriptive study and retrospective review of medical records on the 144 most recent admissions at the Youth Drug and Alcohol (YoDA) service, Dublin was carried out. Overall, 48% of the patients had a lifetime history of psychiatric disorders. Deliberate self-harm (DSH) was the most common condition (27.1%), followed by attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (20.8%) and depression (10.4%). Conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder were infrequently diagnosed. Compared with boys, the girls were more likely to have a lifetime history of psychiatric disorders (odds ratio 3.7; p = 0.005).

These findings provide the first prevalence data on psychiatric disorders in a clinically representative sample of Irish adolescents with SUDs. Adolescent addiction services should have the skills to assess and manage co-occurring mental health problems. There is a need for further studies to examine DSH among adolescents with SUDs.


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