Send to

Choose Destination
Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2015 Jun;17(2):181-90.

Assessment and treatment of mood disorders in the context of substance abuse.

Author information

Addiction Sciences Division, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, USA.


in English, French, Spanish

Recognition and management of mood symptoms in individuals using alcohol and/or other drugs represent a daily challenge for clinicians in both inpatient and outpatient treatment settings. Diagnosis of underlying mood disorders in the context of ongoing substance abuse requires careful collection of psychiatric history, and is often critical for optimal treatment planning and outcomes. Failure to recognize major depression or bipolar disorders in these patients can result in increased relapse rates, recurrence of mood episodes, and elevated risk of completed suicide. Over the past decade, epidemiologic research has clarified the prevalence of comorbid mood disorders in substance-dependent individuals, overturning previous assumptions that depression in these patients is simply an artifact of intoxication and/or withdrawal, therefore requiring no treatment. However, our understanding of the bidirectional relationships between mood and substance use disorders in terms of their course(s) of illness and prognoses remains limited. Like-wise, strikingly little treatment research exists to guide clinical decision making in co-occurring mood and substance use disorders, given their high prevalence and public health burden. Here we overview what is known and the salient gaps of knowledge where data might enhance diagnosis and treatment of these complicated patients.


addiction; alcoholism; bipolar disorder; comorbidity; dual diagnosis; major depressive disorder; suicide

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center