Sustained remission from substance use disorder among American Indian veterans

Marie Cecilia Tan, Joseph Westermeyer, James Thompson, Paul Thuras, Jose Canive

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Goals of the study were (1) to determine the 1-year sustained full remission rate from substance use disorder (SUD) in a community sample and (2) to describe the current and lifetime characteristics associated with SUD remission. Sample consisted of 558 American Indian veterans in the North Central areas of the United States. They were representative of American Indian veterans in the area, structured for rural-urban residence (50:50), and over sampled for women. Data collection instruments included demographic data, military history, current social network, self-rated scales for psychiatric symptoms and alcohol-drug use, a computer-based Diagnostic Interview Schedule, and a computer-based algorithmic treatment history. Results revealed a lifetime prevalence rate consistent with other American Indian groups along with a 1-year remission rate of 41%. Among those with lifetime SUD, demographic and lifetime clinical characteristics did not distinguish between those who did and those who did not remit. Remitted veterans showed higher social function and lower anxiety-phobic symptoms than those with active SUD. Remitted veterans did not manifest mental health or social function as optimal as those who never had SUD. In conclusion, these data revealed a higher rate of SUD remission than previously reported among American Indian people. Remitted veterans fared somewhat better than veterans with active SUD, but their level of psychosocial health was much less than those who never had SUD. Notable mental health improvement failed to accompany SUD remission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-63
Number of pages11
JournalAddictive Disorders and their Treatment
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • American Indian
  • Comorbidity
  • Remission
  • Substance use disorder
  • Veterans


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