A Norwegian study shows that nine out of ten people diagnosed with substance abuse or drug addiction, who received help from the specialist health service for the first time, also had other mental disorders in addition. This writes Dagens Medisin.

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The findings are based on a study by psychiatrist and researcher Anne-Marit Langås at the R&D department, Clinic for mental health and substance abuse in Vestre Viken, Norway. 

She examined patients with substance abuse disorders, who were referred for the first time to treatment in the specialist health services for mental illness or substance abuse and addiction.

The researcher found that the proportion of patients with mental disorders in addition to drug abuse or drug addiction was high. Specifically, 9 out of 10 drug addicts had a mental illness.

This was a little surprising and more than I had expected from people who had consulted the specialist health service for the first time. Other Norwegian data have also shown high numbers, but there is reason to believe that it also includes the sickest, who have been hospitalized and who have been in and out for treatment, says Anne-Marit Langås to Dagens Medisin. 

Most mental disorders were independent of drug use. Only 7% of the patients had mental disorders that were directly triggered by their substance abuse.