Open Access

Substance Use Disorders and Adolescent Psychopathology

Public Health Reviews201234:10

DOI: 10.1007/BF03391678

Published: 6 December 2012

Abstract

Adolescence is a vulnerable developmental stage where significant changes occur in a youth’s body, brain, environment and socialization, which may increase vulnerability to substance use, development of addiction, and psychiatric disorders. A co-occurrence of mental and behavioral disturbances with drug involvement in adolescence is common, as reflected in both a high risk for drug use in youth with mental illness and a high frequency of psychopathology among drug users. In this review we provide a broad and basic overview of some of the research evidence indicating a strong co-occurrence of drug use disorders (abuse and dependence) with externalizing and internalizing disorders, as well as a few other serious mental health conditions among adolescents. Increasing awareness and knowledge of the high probability of the co-occurrence of mental and behavioral disturbances with drug involvement informs the understanding of the etiology, course, and treatment of psychiatric problems among adolescents.

Key Words

adolescence comorbidity substance use disorder psychiatric disorder

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