Objectives: To quantify the relation between substance misuse and psychiatric illness in the UK general practice population in terms of (a) the relative risk of developing one condition given prior exposure to the other and (b) the proportion of cases of one condition attributable to exposure to the other. Design: Population based prospective observational study using the general practice research database (GPRD) between 1993 and 1998. The 230 GP practices represent 3.1% of the population. Setting: England and Wales. Participants: 1.4 million registered patients of whom 3969 had both substance misuse and psychiatric diagnoses between 1993 and 1998. Main outcome measures: Relative risk (RR) for subsequent psychiatric illness among participants exposed to substance misuse and RR for subsequent substance misuse among participants exposed to psychiatric illness. Population attributable risk (PAR) of psychiatric illness attributable to substance misuse and of substance misuse attributable to psychiatric illness. Results: The baseline prevalence of psychiatric illness over the study period was 15% and 0.3% for substance abuse. RR for psychiatric illness for substance misusers compared with non- substance misusers was 1.54 (95% CI 1.47 to 1.62). RR for substance misuse among psychiatric compared with nonpsychiatric cases was 2.09 (95% CI 1.99 to 2.22). PAR for psychiatric illness attributable to substance misuse was 0.2%. PAR for substance misuse attributable to psychiatric illness was 14.2%. Discussion: Only a comparatively small proportion of psychiatric illness seems possibly attributable to substance use whereas a more substantial proportion of substance use seems possibly attributable to psychiatric illness. This study does not support the hypotheses that comorbidity between substance misuse and psychiatric illness is primarily the result of substance misuse or that increasing comorbidity is largely attributable to increasing substance misuse.
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Oct 2005|