Open Access

Substance Use Disorders and Adolescent Psychopathology

Public Health Reviews201234:10

https://doi.org/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

adolescencecomorbiditysubstance use disorderpsychiatric disorder

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