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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Dual Diagnosis: Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Relationship With Suicide Risk in a Nationwide Sample of French Prisoners
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research Published Online: 31 Oct 2008

Axis I psychiatric disorders (PD) and substance use disorders (SUD) are common in prison, but only few studies have focused on their association in this setting. Dual diagnosis (DD) (the co-occurrence of a SUD and any axis I disorder) is known to have a poorer prognosis and to require more intense supportive care.

The objectives of this study were (1) to describe prisoners with DD (prevalence and characteristics); (2) to compare DD prisoners with 3 other groups of prisoners: no diagnosis (ND), SUD alone, or other isolated PD; and (3) to evaluate the impact of DD on suicide risk in prison.

Of the prisoners, 26.3% had a DD. DD prevalence was almost 80% in prisoners with SUD, while only one-third of the prisoners with an axis I PD had co-morbid SUD. No significant differences were observed in drug use patterns between DD and SUD without co-morbid PDs. DD showed the strongest association with suicide risk [OR = 5.7 (1.7–4.6)].

DD is very frequent in prison and is a major risk factor for suicide. Systematic psychiatric/SUD screening of prisoners with either a SUD or an axis I PD should be encouraged.

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