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Psychiatry Res. 2006 May 30;142(1):11-7. Epub 2006 May 19.

Illicit drug use and anxiety disorders: findings from two community surveys.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Manitoba, PZ430-771 Bannatyne Avenue, Winnipeg, MB, Canada R3E 3N4.


The focus of this investigation was the relationship between anxiety disorders and lifetime use of amphetamines, cocaine, hallucinogens and heroin in two contemporaneous samples. Data from two independent community surveys conducted in the US (N=5877) and Ontario (N=8116) were used to assess whether a lifetime anxiety disorder diagnosis (social phobia, panic disorder, agoraphobia, specific phobia, and generalized anxiety disorder) was significantly associated with lifetime use of amphetamines, hallucinogens, cocaine, and heroin. Posttraumatic stress disorder was assessed only in the US survey. After controlling for sociodemographics, a significant association between any anxiety disorder diagnosis and lifetime stimulant use, cocaine use, and hallucinogen use was found in both surveys (OR approximately 1.5-3.0). Any anxiety disorder diagnosis was significantly associated with lifetime heroin use in the US survey (OR approximately 3.0). Clinicians and researchers need to be aware of the relationship between anxiety disorders and illicit drug use.

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