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Drug Alcohol Rev. 1998 Jun;17(2):187-95.

Physical and mental health problems in amphetamine users from metropolitan Adelaide, Australia.

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National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction, Bedford Park, South Australia, Australia.


Phase I of this study was designed to inform the development of a range of responses to hazardous and harmful amphetamine use. Research techniques from Rapid Assessment Methodology (RAM) were utilized to collect data. A survey of current amphetamine users included the Short Form 36 (SF36) Health Status Questionnaire, for which South Australian population norms were published in 1995. This facilitated comparisons of the health of this sample of amphetamine users with that of the general population. The sample were found to have significantly poorer health than the general population. The self-reported prevalence of mental health problems in the sample was consistent with previous Australian research on amphetamine use. Approximately one-third of the sample reported that they had experienced symptoms of anxiety, depression, mood swings and aggressive outbursts prior to their use of amphetamines. Two-thirds of the sample reported symptoms of anxiety and depression since starting to use amphetamines, almost half reported mood swings and aggressive outbursts, and over a third reported panic attacks and paranoia. One of the most important findings was a strong association between mental and physical health problems and the severity of dependence on amphetamines. The implications of these results for interventions with amphetamine users are discussed.

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