Psychiatric syndromes in adolescents with marijuana abuse and dependency in outpatient treatment

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Objective: The purpose of the current study to assist in understanding the prevalence and clinical correlates of psychiatric distress in adolescents seeking outpatient services for marijuana abuse or dependency. Methods: In a multi-site randomized clinical trial, 600 adolescents and their parents were assessed at intake using the Global Appraisals of Individual Needs. DSM-IV criteria were used to diagnose marijuana use disorders, and a symptom check list was used to measure symptoms on five syndromes: conduct disorder, ADHD, depression, anxiety, and disorders of traumatic distress. Results: Patients endorsed acute levels of conduct disorder (74%), ADHD (77%), depression (37.7%), anxiety (28.8%), and traumatic distress (13.8%), and 72% endorsed acute levels on two or more syndromes. Adolescents with a diagnosis of dependency and females evidenced the greatest severity of mental health distress, and minimal differences were found between racial groups. Patients with acute levels of both internalizing and externalizing syndromes reported problems with substance use, criminal activities, trauma experience, and family environments. Conclusion: Co-occurring psychiatric distress is the norm for adolescents seeking outpatient services for marijuana disorders. Better integration of substance use and mental health services would likely improve the quality of care for these troubled youth. © 2006 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.




Diamond, G., Panichelli-Mindel, S. M., Shera, D., Dennis, M., Tims, F., & Ungemack, J. (2006). Psychiatric syndromes in adolescents with marijuana abuse and dependency in outpatient treatment. Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse, 15(4), 37–54.

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