Background: This study will report the most recent Australian data on the 12-month prevalence of SUDs comorbid with mood and anxiety disorders. For the first time, differences in demographic, physical health, disability, suicidality, and social wellbeing correlates will be investigated between individuals with a i) pure SUD, ii) SUD and mood disorder or anxiety disorder, iii) SUD and mood disorder and anxiety disorder.
Methods: The 2007 NSMHWB was a nationally representative household survey of 8,841 Australian adults aged between 16 and 85 years that assessed participants for symptoms of the most prevalent DSM-IV mental health disorders.
Results: Among those with a 12-month SUD, over 20% had a mood disorder, 31% had an anxiety disorder, and 16% had both a mood and anxiety disorder in the same year. Compared to those with a pure SUD, those with a SUD and mood or anxiety disorder were 3 times more likely to have at least one of six physical health conditions and were over 4 times more likely to have had suicidal thoughts in the previous 12-months. Individuals with all three classes of disorder were more likely to have been homeless (OR 5.7), been in prison (OR 7.6), and received a government allowance (OR 3.0). They were also over 10 times more likely to have experienced disability and 22 times more likely to have had suicidal thoughts that year.
Conclusion: These results are unique in their assessment of the level of disability, debilitation, and suicidality experienced by individuals with SUDs comorbid with mood and anxiety disorders. The development and provision of interventions targeting comorbidity in substance users is especially urgent in individuals with increased classes of comorbid mental health disorders.