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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2007 May 11;88(2-3):146-55. Epub 2006 Nov 28.

Psychiatric disorders in inhalant users: results from The National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University School of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI), Durham, NC 27715, USA.



To examine the prevalence and correlates of mood, anxiety, and personality disorders among lifetime inhalant users.


Statistical analyses were based on data from the 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), a nationally representative survey of adults in the United States.


Inhalant users (N=664) had high lifetime prevalences of DSM-IV mood (48%), anxiety (36%), and personality (45%) disorders. Of all inhalant users, 70% met criteria for at least one lifetime mood, anxiety, or personality disorder and 38% experienced a mood or anxiety disorder in the past year. Prevalences of comorbid psychiatric disorders varied by gender. Compared with male inhalant users, female inhalant users had higher prevalences of lifetime dysthymia (24% versus 16%), any anxiety disorder (53% versus 30%), panic disorder without agoraphobia (25% versus 11%), and specific phobia (28% versus 14%), but a lower prevalence of antisocial personality disorder (22% versus 36%). Female inhalant users also were more likely than male inhalant users to meet criteria for three or more mood or anxiety disorders (15% versus 8%) in the past year. Among inhalant users with comorbid disorders, those who developed social or specific phobia typically experienced onset of these disorders prior to initiation of inhalant use; all other mood and anxiety disorders usually developed following the onset of inhalant use. Inhalant users who were women, poor, less educated, with early onset of inhalant use, family histories of psychopathology, and personal histories of substance abuse treatment had increased odds of psychiatric disorders.


Psychiatric disorders are highly prevalent among inhalant users nationally and female inhalant users are more likely than male inhalant users to experience multiple psychiatric disorders. Inhalant use and its consequences among females warrant greater research attention.

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