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Am J Psychiatry. 1998 Feb;155(2):239-43.

Remission of substance use disorder among psychiatric inpatients with mental illness.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Maryland, Baltimore 21201, USA.



The authors assessed the nature and stability of remission of substance use disorder among persons with severe mental illness at index hospitalization and at 1-year follow-up.


Consecutively admitted inpatients with severe mental illness completed the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R, Quality of Life Interview, and Addiction Severity Index at admission and 1 year later. Of the 268 patients, 70 were classified as past substance abusers in remission at baseline. Baseline characteristics and 1-year outcomes of this group were compared with those of the 109 current substance abusers and the 89 patients who were not substance abusers.


The past abusers were significantly more likely to be women, and they consistently differed significantly from the current abusers in variables involving frequency of drug and alcohol use at baseline. During the follow-up period, the patients with current abuse at baseline were significantly more likely to have recurrences of substance use disorders and to use substance abuse services, and they had significantly more months of alcohol use and alcohol use to excess during follow-up than did the past abusers.


Baseline and follow-up assessments suggested that a substantial proportion of severely mentally ill patients with past substance use disorders are in stable remission.

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