Having psychiatric disorders or comorbidities is quite common. Alcohol dependence and clinical depression are one of the most common comorbidities. In fact, people dependent on alcohol use are four times more likely to have the major depressive disorder as well.
Studies have shown that patients with such comorbidities experience much worse outcomes and higher relapse after therapy but the latest study conducted by Michigan State University has successfully uncovered the reasons for such a combination of disorders. The finding of the study could help in both treatment and prevention.
The finding of this study is published in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction.
Researchers examined the distress tolerance, delay discounting, and how well people cope with stressful conditions and impulsive behaviours which force people for immediate rewards instead of over delayed, but valuable ones. The study examined the roles played by distress tolerance and delay discounting in the comorbidity of depression and alcohol dependence.
An assistant professor at the College of Human Medicine, Julia Felton said this is part of a larger study to found the potential key predictors of such comorbidity. Researchers wanted to identify the significant characteristics so that they would be able to know who’s at risk. She said delay discounting is associated with negative health outcomes but it is not been considered in the contexts of distress tolerance and that’s the focus of this study
For this study, the researchers enlisted 79 people who were already the part of a larger study on substance use and risk-taking. Those recruited people were low-income adult substance use disorder inpatient facility, within the week of treatment.
Majority of participants were low-income Black American male. 77% of them reported to have a disorder of one substance use and 64% of them met the criteria of at least one of the psychiatric disorders. A series of experiments were conducted by the researchers to check the distress tolerance, delay discounting, depressive disorder and alcoholism.
At the end of the study, researchers found that low ability to tolerate stress and increased rates of delay discounting increased the likelihood of occurrence of both the diseases. The majority, 23 % of the participants reported having both major depressive disorder and alcohol use disorder. Only 22% reported that having the disorder of alcohol use alone and 15% reported to have a major depressive disorder.
The bottom line is that the more impulsive people have increased rates of delay discounting and also those who were less stress-tolerant were more likely of having both depression and alcohol dependence separately. Those people were more likely to have such comorbid disorders.
These significant findings can be helpful for identifying the risk of comorbid disorders in patients and can help in the successful treatment of such patients, especially the treatment facilities for substance use. So, mental health disorder is associated with substance use disorder. These outcomes will help researchers to target the personality’s traits for preventing such comorbid disorders.
Researchers are aimed at further investigation options targeting distress tolerance and delay discounting. They are looking for more interventions that can be made in settings of inpatient substance use. The outcomes of this study are preliminary findings which must be replicated as they can open new exciting avenues for more advanced treatments