Examining Internalizing Mental Health Correlates of Addiction Severity in Patients Hospitalized With Medical Complications From Substance Use Disorder


Background:Comorbidities between Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and mental health disorders are highly prevalent, yet there remains a lack of information regarding how mental health conditions may affect addiction severity. Consequently, this study sought to investigate the relationship between internalizing disorders (anxiety and mood disorders) and addiction severity in patients hospitalized for SUD-related medical complications. Individual difference predictors and history of prior treatment for SUD were also examined.Methods:Participants (N = 200) were hospitalized patients who consented to receive peer-based recovery support services for their SUD. To be eligible for the study, participants needed to have a SUD diagnosis due to alcohol, opioids, methamphetamine, cocaine, or a combination of these substances (polysubstance use). Participants completed self-report questionnaires regarding demographics, mental health history, prior SUD treatment, and addiction severity (Drug and Alcohol Screening Test; DAST-10) during their hospitalization.Results:Results showed that patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) (M = 6.68, SD = 2.97) had greater addiction severity compared to those without GAD (M = 5.41, SD = 3.34), P = .016. Addiction severity results stratified by SUD type showed that the relationship was significant among patients with Alcohol Use Disorder (P = .014), but not among those with other SUD types (Ps > .27). Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) were not linked to addiction severity. Among those with GAD, 81.4% had previously been to treatment compared to only 53.1% of those without GAD, P = .010. The only participant characteristic linked with addiction severity was insurance status.Conclusions:GAD may represent a risk factor for advanced alcohol addiction trajectories, including greater addiction severity and severe health complications requiring inpatient hospitalization.

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