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Community Ment Health J. 2000 Aug;36(4):351-62.

A description of precipitants of drug use among dually diagnosed patients with chronic mental illness.

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Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.


In this report, we describe patients' perceptions of the chronological occurrence of their mental illness and substance abuse. The patients were enrolled in a community mental health center and received dual diagnosis treatment from an affiliated psychiatric rehabilitation program. Using a questionnaire designed to address this issue, we assessed patients' perceptions of support currently being received at the treatment program and how beneficial they perceived this support to be. In addition, we assessed why substance use was a coping strategy in times of perceived stress early in life and whether this behavior has changed to date. Assessing the perception of the sequence of co-occurring disorders among patients enables us to better understand the factors that precipitate substance use and exacerbate mental illness. This knowledge may aid in the design of effective treatment strategies for this population of patients.

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