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Ann Med. 2000 Sep;32(6):401-7.

Consequences of adolescent drug use on psychiatric disorders in early adulthood.

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Department of Community and Preventive Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USA.


This article summarizes the existing literature on the relationship between adolescent drug use and abuse and the development of psychiatric disorders in adulthood. In recent years, there has been increased awareness of the co-occurrence of drug abuse and psychiatric disorders in adolescence and young adulthood. Few longitudinal studies, however, have examined specifically the impact of earlier drug use and abuse on later psychiatric disorders. The literature suggests three possible models to explain the relation between drug use and abuse and psychiatric disorders. According to the first model, adolescent psychiatric disorders precede drug use and abuse. A second model postulates that psychiatric disorders and drug use are correlated because they share one or more common aetiological factor(s). The third model posits that drug use and abuse predict or precede certain psychiatric disorders. We present data from a recent longitudinal study to support this latter model. As drug use and abuse have been shown to increase the likelihood of psychiatric disorders, it is clear that medical attention needs to be given to adolescents who use drugs of abuse. It is expected that a decrease in adolescent drug abuse should lead to an accompanying reduction in later psychiatric disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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