We’ve become accustomed to reading about campus alcohol and drug use. Yet, the rates of both substance use and non-substance use psychiatric disorders pointed out by a new study sponsored by NIH (National Institutes of Health), are alarming. That only about one-quarter of those with disorders in the study group had received treatment is further cause for concern. Some interesting comparisons were also found between these groups.
This research looked at sociodemographic factors and DSM-IV disorders, substance use and treatment requests among 5,000 college students and young adults who were not in college (Blanco, Okuda, Wright, et al 2008). All participants were between the ages of 19 and 25. The rate of all included disorders didn’t differ between the groups, but researchers found that the non-student group was significantly more likely to; have tried nicotine, be nicotine dependent, have bipolar disorder and have drug abuse disorders than the college group. Alcohol use disorders were higher among college students, but about equal when sociodemographic factors were adjusted for empirical comparison purposes.
Still, alcohol and drug use appeared to be the leading disorders among the college group (20%), followed by personality and paranoid disorders (18%), and bipolar disorder and depression (11%). The non-college group had a higher rate of personality disorders and just a one percent higher rate of bipolar disorder. Rates of anxiety were almost equal. Eating disorders were not included in the study (Brewington, 2008). The college student group was found to have received less treatment than the non-students for their disorders.
We don’t know if the rates of disorder found in the study represent a change from years past. This wasn’t explored in the study. It is clear, though, that the apparently high rate of psychiatric disorder among this age group hasn’t been well-recognized and that education, treatment access and, likely, stigma-reducing measures are needed to target this age-group.
© Copyright 2008 by Jolyn Wells-Moran, PhD, MSW, therapist in Seattle, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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