Objective: Cocaine is a widely abused drug in the United States and a significant, but not well studied, problem in adolescent populations. Few studies have used structured diagnostic interviews and Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders criteria to examine comorbidity in adolescents referred to inpatient treatment for substance use disorders (SUDs). Many psychiatric disorders have their onset and develop during adolescence, and a complex overlap can develop between substance abuse and adolescent behavioral or emotional disturbances. This study investigates cooccurring psychiatric disorders in cocaine-dependent adolescents.
Method: Subjects were adolescents aged 14 to 17 years who had abused cocaine and were attending the 6-week adolescent inpatient drug and alcohol treatment program for the South Carolina Department of Mental Health. They completed the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children 2.3, PC version before viewing a 36-minute videotape with salient cocaine cues for craving.
Results: Of the 31 subjects completing the study, 21 (68%) subjects were diagnosed with an axis I diagnosis other than conduct or other SUDs.
Conclusions: The prevalence of affective disorders including sex differences is similar to other investigated adolescent SUD populations. However, cocaine-preferring adolescents may have higher comorbidity and more anxiety disorders. The presence of anxiety may be a major factor in adolescent cocaine addiction.