Brief Screening for Psychological and Substance Abuse Disorders in Veterans With Long-Term Spinal Cord Injury

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ABSTRACT.Objective:To determine rates of positive screens for psychological and substance use disorders in persons with long-term spinal cord injury (SCI).Study Design:A naturalistic cohort design wherein consecutive admissions during an 8-month period completed the screening battery.Setting:Veterans Affairs SCI Center.Participants:One hundred fifteen men, 2 women, mean age 57.4 years, injured an average of 20 years, readmitted for various reasons.Main Outcome Measures:The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) and screening items for depression and anxiety disorders.Results:Rates of positive screens ranged from 6.2% for alcohol problems to over 40% for anxiety disorders. Positive screens for depression and anxiety correlated positively with the number of recent hospital admissions.Conclusions:Systematic brief screening for psychological and substance abuse disorders in this population revealed rates of positive screens at least equal to those in other medical patient populations.

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