Comorbidity of drug abuse/dependence and psychological distress in seven countries of Latin America and one of the Caribbean

Edgar Merchán-Hamann Erotildes Maria Leal Liliana Basso Musso Miriam García Estrada Patrice Reid Olga Vladimirovna Kulakova Eddy Vásquez Espinoza Opal Jones Willis Ricardo Prieto López Diana Domenech About the authors

A multicenter study among patients in treatment for alcohol and illicit drugs abuse were conducted in eight countries (Brazil, Chile, Guatemala, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay). Our objective was to ascertain the frequency of psychological distress, current diagnosis of comorbidities and perceived familiar dysfunction. It was recruited 1,073 adult volunteers and they filled out a questionnaire or were interviewed. Psychological distress was evaluated through the Kessler's K-10 scale and family dysfunction by the APGAR-family scale. Male individuals predominated at all study sites (age range: 18-86). Current diagnosis of anxiety ranged from 30.0% to 40.0% in most sites. Current diagnosis of depression ranged from 20% to 35% in most sites. High and very high levels of psychological stress were higher than 70% in Uruguay, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Brazil. Severe family dysfunction was higher in Panamá 34.7% followed by Nicaraguan cities 20-25%. The prevalence of psychological distress suggests higher rates of comorbidity.

Comorbidity; Psychological distress; Substance use-related disorders; Mental health assistance


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