Substance use associated with short sleep duration in patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder

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Abstract

Study Objectives:

To examine the association between substance use and short sleep duration in individuals with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, depressive type (SADD).

Design:

Cross-sectional, retrospective study.

Setting:

Urban, suburban, and rural centers across the United States.

Participants:

2,462 consented, adult individuals with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, depressive type (SADD). Participants included inpatients in acute or chronic care settings as well as outpatients and residents in community dwellings.

Measurements:

Substance use was assessed with 10 questions adopted from well-validated measures (e.g., CAGE questionnaire) for alcohol, marijuana, and illicit drugs. Short sleep duration was defined as <6 hr of self-reported sleep per night.

Results:

Close to 100% of our sample used nicotine while 83% used substances other than nicotine. More importantly, there was a significant association between substance use and short sleep duration. Interestingly, this association was strongest among African–Americans with schizophrenia or SADD.

Conclusions:

Because psychiatric medications often target chemical receptors involved with both sleep and substance use, understanding the association between short sleep duration and substance use in individuals with schizophrenia and SADD is important. Given that the majority of premature deaths in individuals with psychotic illness are due to medical conditions associated with modifiable risk factors, prospective studies designed to examine the effect of short sleep duration on behaviors like substance use should be undertaken. Finally, analyzing genetic and environmental data in a future study might help illuminate the strong association found between short sleep duration and substance use in African–Americans with schizophrenia and SADD. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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