Co-occurring watch

As many readers know, we’ve been concerned about the psychiatricizing of addiction. We often hear statements like “evidence indicates that 80% of addicts have a co-occurring mood disorder.” (Fortunately, it appears this has settled down quite a bit.) The numbers were getting so outlandish that some we quietly revised downward.

Marc Schuckit has done some of the few long term studies of alcoholism and psychiatric disorders and he’s found rates of depression of 10% to 15%. (Schuckit was also the chair of the DSM committee to write the substance use disorders section.)

This new study looks much closer to Schuckit’s findings:

Lifetime prevalence of Axis I disorders other than substance use disorder (SUD) was 41.8%, with independent major depression being the most prevalent (17%).

Note that this is lifetime prevalence and includes all Axis I disorders.

One thought on “Co-occurring watch

  1. The bees in my bonnet are buzzing on this one. I’m tired with the medicalisation of the human condition and of the natural variation in emotional range and amplitude. Of course we need to be able to separate out major illness, but too much unhappiness and too many emotional reactive states are “diagnosed” as pathology.

    10-15% feels about right.

    Amazing how quickly mood picks up when you stop using chemicals and you start doing healthy behaviours.

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