Researchers from New York University and the University of Pittsburgh have found that in a large, community-based sample, long-term simultaneous use of alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana was associated with psychiatric disorders in adulthood, including Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD), Major Depressive Episode (MDE), and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). The findings were published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics.
There have been numerous studies previously conducted on substance use and psychopathology, but researchers identified a gap in the research.
Although it is common for individuals to use multiple substances at the same time (eg, to be both a drinker and a smoker, rather than just one or the other), there is limited research on patterns between comorbid substance use and psychopathology.
Most studies have examined people who are already in treatment for substance use disorders (SUDs), and have shown that individual use of alcohol, cigarettes, or marijuana is associated with psychopathology. However, they did not take into account the large number of adults who engage in long term substance use that doesn’t meet the threshold of a substance use “disorder.”
Most studies that examine associations between substance use and psychopathology have used cross-sectional designs, or have measured substance use during adolescence or young adulthood.