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Identifying depression and anxiety disorders in people presenting for substance use treatment

journal contribution
posted on 2011-08-01, 00:00 authored by Petra StaigerPetra Staiger, Anna Thomas, L Ricciardelli, M McCabe
Objective: To identify the type and proportion of depressive and related mental health disorders in a group of individuals seeking outpatient treatment at an alcohol and other drug (AOD) service.
Design, setting and participants: A cross-sectional study using diagnostic interviews with 95 participants (56 men, 39 women) seeking treatment from an AOD service.
Main outcome measures: Mental health and substance disorders were measured using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist, Beck Depression Inventory, and State–Trait Anxiety Inventory (Trait Version).
Results: This was a complex group with addiction, mental health and physical health conditions; 76% had a depressive disorder and 71% had an anxiety disorder. Most were diagnosed with at least two mental health disorders and 25% were diagnosed with four or more different disorders. Alcohol and cannabis use were the most commonly diagnosed AOD disorders. Further, those diagnosed with a drug use disorder reported significantly higher levels of depression compared with those with an alcohol-only disorder. Finally, 60% of the sample reported chronic health conditions, with over one third taking medication for a physical condition on a regular basis.
Conclusions: Primary care providers such as general practitioners are likely to be increasingly called on to assess, treat and/or coordinate care of patients with AOD disorders. We show that this group will likely present to their GP with more than one MJA 2011; 195: S60–S63 mental health disorder in addition to acute and chronic physical health conditions.



Medical journal of Australia






Supplement : Depression, anxiety and substance use


60 - 63


Australasian Medical Publishing Company Pty Ltd


Strawberry Hills, N.S.W.





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2011, Australasian Medical Publishing Company Pty Ltd