Characterizing Anxiety Among Individuals Receiving Treatment for Alcohol and Substance Use Disorders [2018]

BACKGROUND: Despite high prevalence of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) substance use disorder (SUD) comorbidity, little is known regarding demographic characteristics associated with GAD in SUD treatment seekers.

OBJECTIVE: To characterize demographic differences between inpatient SUD treatment seekers reporting varying levels of GAD symptomatology.

DESIGN: General linear models, chi-square test, t test, and correlational analyses were utilized to assess group differences. Groups included those with no history of significant anxiety (No GAD; n = 256), subclinical anxiety (Subclinical; n = 85), and those meeting GAD diagnostic criteria (GAD; n = 61).

RESULTS: The No GAD group differed substantially from Subclinical and GAD individuals. With the exception of polysubstance use, no differences were found regarding Subclinical and GAD groups.

CONCLUSION: Individuals with subclinical GAD symptoms and those meeting diagnostic criteria were nearly identical regarding precursors to problematic substance use, severity of use, and key mental health indicators. Findings suggest subclinical levels of GAD should not be overlooked when assessing and treating SUDs.

Lisa H. Domenico, Ben Lewis, Mythili Hazarika, Sara Jo Nixon
Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, Vol 24, Issue 4, 2018