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January 2022

How frequent are substance abuse and dependence? A critical review

Author(s): Wittchen, H. U., Lachner, G.

Journal/Book: Z Klin Psychol-Forsch Praxis. 1996; 25: Rohnsweg 25, D-37085 Gottingen, Germany. Hogrefe-Verlag GmbH & Co. 280-295.

Abstract: A critical review of prevalence and risk factor studies of substance abuse and dependence in Germany is presented. It is shown that currently available epidemiological data are incomplete due to the failure of instruments to allow for a detailed assessment of specific substance use disorders. The neglect of diagnostic criteria for clinically significant abuse and dependence disorders makes it especially difficult to draw conclusions about the results of representative surveys. Although they give clear population-related information about frequency and distribution patterns of legal and illegal substances, relevant clinical data regarding aspects such as severity, tolerance, problems of abstinence, onset and course of abuse and dependence are completely lacking. This is also true of studies on risk factors. An additional problem is diagnostic assessment based almost exclusively on questionnaires and interviews whose reliability and validity have not been sufficiently established.

Note: Article A Perkonigg, Max Planck Inst Psychiat, Klin Inst, Arb Grp Klin Psychol, Kraepelinstr 2-10, D-80804 Munich, Germany

Keyword(s): epidemiology of mental disorders; substance abuse and dependence; prevalence; risk factors; DRUG-USE; ALCOHOL-USE; DISORDERS; COMORBIDITY; COMMUNITY; SAMPLE; ADOLESCENTS; POPULATION; PREVALENCE; INTERVIEW

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