October 1986

San Diego Suicide StudyII. Substance Abuse in Young Cases

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of California (Drs Fowler, Rich, and Young), and the Inpatient Psychiatry Service, Veterans Administration Medical Center (Dr Rich), San Diego.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1986;43(10):962-965. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1986.01800100056008

• Fifty-three percent of 133 consecutive young suicides had a principal psychiatric diagnosis of substance abuse. Twentyfour percent had an additional principal diagnosis of atypical depression, atypical psychosis, or adjustment disorder with depression. The relationship of the substance abuse to the additional diagnosis was usually obscure, though this subgroup was similar to the group with only substance abuse on a number of factors. Typically, substance abuse was a chronic condition present for nine years. Multiple substance abuse was the norm in these cases, and marijuana, alcohol, and cocaine were the most frequently abused substances. Substance abusers without other principal diagnoses received psychiatric care less frequently than those with additional principal diagnoses.