Three Groups More Likely to Self-Medicate

Article excerpt

NEW ORLEANS -- Men, singles, and those aged 30 years and younger are more likely than other groups in the general population to use psychoactive substances to cope with psychiatric symptoms, a large population-based study conducted in France suggests.

Men in the study were particularly likely to use such substances for this purpose. Among the 20,077 individuals surveyed, 17% of men and 7% of women reported using substances to self-medicate, Dr. Gaelle Encreanz of the public research organization Inserm in Bordeaux, France, and colleagues reported in a poster at the American Psychiatric Association's Institute on Psychiatric Services.

Similarly, of the 1,253 men and 2,047 women in the study who had at least one anxiety or depressive disorder, 40% of men and 52% of women used health care only to address their symptoms; 13% of men and 6% of women used health care and psychoactive substances; and 4% of men and 1% of women used only psychoactive substances, according to Dr. Encreanz and associates.

In a multivariate analysis, the investigators found that male gender, single status, and age of 30 years or younger emerged as risk factors for use of psychoactive substances--either with or without health care--to self-medicate.

The investigators found that the likelihood of using both psychoactive substances and health care was higher in those with a psychiatric episode that was associated with high disability. …