Substance Abuse in Patients With Comorbid Anxiety Disorder: A Comparative Study

Phebe Tucker, Joseph Westermeyer

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9 Scopus citations


The nature of substance‐related disorder (SRD) in patients with comorbid anxiety disorder (AD) is not well understood. Such patients may be “self‐medicating,” in which case we would expect greater abuse of antianxiety or sedating substances. To address these issues, the authors compared 36 patients with comorbid SRD‐AD with 308 SRD‐only patients. Relatively more women were in the SRD‐AD group, but other demographic characteristics did not differ between the two groups. Several childhood variables (related to problematic behavior and academic problems) did distinguish the two groups. Unexpectedly, the SRD‐AD patients met fewer diagnostic criteria for cannabis and opiate diagnoses (P < 0.01). Family history revealed less maternal SRD in the SRD‐AD group. Numerous indices of course and severity failed to reveal many differences between the two groups. These data suggest that SRD type and severity among comorbid SRD‐AD patients closely resembles those among SRD‐only patients. These data have implications for the assessment and care of comorbid SRD‐AD patients. 1995 American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)226-233
Number of pages8
JournalThe American Journal on Addictions
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995


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