Veterans who suffer from mental health disorders also have high rates of substance use disorders, a new study published in The American Journal on Addictions reveals.
Led by Ismene Petrakis, MD, of Yale University School of Medicine, researchers used national administrative data from the Department of Veterans Affairs to examine rates of substance use disorders among Veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan who were also diagnosed with PTSD and other psychiatric disorders.
A total of 1,001,996 VA patients were diagnosed with one of the six designated mental disorders. The rates of substance use disorders among those with mental illness ranged from 21-35%.
"Our findings may be useful in program planning and for understanding the needs of veterans of different eras," Petrakis notes. "For example, in determining the needs of veterans from the current conflicts, it seems that those with serious mental illness are particularly in need of services to address a comorbid substance use disorder."