Substance dependent American Indian veterans: A national evaluation

R. D. Walker, M. O. Howard, B. Anderson, M. D. Lambert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Demographic, clinical, and treatment episode characteristics of 1087 American Indian veterans discharged from Department of Veterans Affairs Hospitals in fiscal year 1991 were examined. Substance use disorders were diagnosed in 46.3 percent of discharged American Indians, compared with 23.4 percent of discharged veterans overall. More than 97 percent of American Indian substance use diagnoses were for alcohol dependence, while cases of other drug use disorders were low. Substance dependent American Indians were younger, and more likely to be male and unmarried, than nondependent American Indians. Psychiatric disorders, particularly personality disorders, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder, were more prevalent among American Indians diagnosed with substance use disorders, than among nondependent American Indians. American Indians with substance use disorders were similar demographically to the general population of substance dependent veterans. Rates of diagnosed psychiatric disorders and drug dependencies other than alcohol were lower among American Indians receiving substance (alcohol or drug) use diagnoses than among the general population of substance dependent veterans. Rates of rehospitalization following discharge were higher in substance-abusing American Indian veterans than among their counterparts. Potential explanations for these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-242
Number of pages8
JournalPublic health reports
Volume109
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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