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Do Substance Type and Diagnosis Make a Difference? A Study of Remission From Alcohol- Versus Drug-Use Disorders Using the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions

Mitchell P Karno, Christine E Grella, Noosha Niv, Umme Warda, Alison A Moore

Objective: This study examined rates of remission from substance-use disorders based on type of disorder (abuse vs dependence), type of substance (alcohol vs other drug), and polysubstance involvement (alcohol or drug vs alcohol and drug). Method: Participants in the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions were included if they met criteria for a prior-to-past-year alcohol- and/ or drug-use disorder (N = 12,297). Odds ratios were computed to examine differences in the rate of remission as of the past year. Results: Individuals with a prior-to-past-year diagnosis of abuse were more likely to be remitted, compared with those with a diagnosis of dependence.Individuals with both prior-to-past-year alcohol- and drug-use disorders were less likely to be remitted, compared with those with only an alcohol- or drug-use disorder. No differences were observed in remission rates comparing individuals with a prior-to-past-year alcohol-use disorder with those with a drug-use disorder. Conclusions: The findings support prior research in suggesting a worse prognosis for individuals with a diagnosis of dependence and problematic use of both alcohol and drugs. In contrast with results from treatment samples, these general population data indicate that alcohol-use and drug-use disorders have a similar prognosis. (J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs 69: 491-495, 2008)