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Rates of mood and anxiety disorders and contributors to continued heroin use in methadone maintenance patients: A comparison by HIV status

Authors Applebaum AJ, Bullis JR, Traeger LN, O’Cleirigh C, Otto MW, Pollack MH, Safren SA

Published 11 August 2010 Volume 2010:2 Pages 49—57

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NBHIV.S12371

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Allison J Applebaum1, Jacqueline R Bullis1, Lara N Traeger1, Conall O’Cleirigh1, Michael W Otto2, Mark H Pollack1, Steven A Safren1
1Behavioral Medicine Service, Massachusetts General Hospital, 2Department of Psychology, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Abstract: The frequency of mood and anxiety disorders is elevated among individuals with a history of intravenous drug abuse and among those with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and these disorders are associated with continued substance use despite treatment. The present study examined rates of mood and anxiety disorders, and recent heroin use, among HIV-infected and HIV-noninfected patients receiving methadone maintenance therapy. Participants were 160 (80 HIV-infected, 80 HIV-noninfected) methadone patients. Clinician-administered, semistructured interviews were used to identify unipolar and bipolar depression, and four major anxiety disorders (panic disorder with agoraphobia [PDA], generalized anxiety disorder [GAD], post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD], and social anxiety disorder [SAD]). Toxicology screens and self-reporting were used to assess heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and alcohol use over the past month. The entire sample met criteria for at least one psychiatric disorder other than substance dependence. Substantial proportions of participants met criteria for major depressive disorder (55.6%), bipolar I, bipolar II, or cyclothymia (6.4%), PDA (34.4%), GAD (22.5%), SAD (16.9%), and PTSD (34.4%). A greater proportion of HIV-infected participants met criteria for SAD (Χ2 = 5.03), and a greater proportion of HIV-noninfected participants met criteria for GAD (Χ2 = 5.39, P < 0.01). About 14% of participants continued to use heroin over the past month, a significantly greater proportion of whom were HIV-infected. In adjusted analyses, none of the mood or anxiety disorders emerged as significant predictors of recent heroin use, but being HIV-infected did. This study highlights the high rate of psychopathology and continued heroin use despite substance abuse treatment, and underscores the need for interventions that help mitigate these problems among methadone patients.

Keywords: psychopathology, substance dependence, human immunodeficiency virus, methadone

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