Psychiatric illness among drug court probationers.

Minneapolis VA Medical Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55417, USA.
The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse (Impact Factor: 1.47). 02/2003; 29(4):775-88. DOI: 10.1081/ADA-120026260
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to identify the level of psychiatric symptoms reported by probationers involved with a drug court in Hennepin County, Minnesota. Sixty probationers completed a brief demographic interview, the Beck Depression and Anxiety Inventories (BDI and BAI) and a measure of medical quality of life. Fifteen participants completed a structured interview for psychiatric diagnosis (SCID-I). The sample was predominantly male, African American, and unemployed. Over 40% had received treatment for psychiatric problems, including 20% who reported a history of inpatient psychiatric admission and 15% currently taking a psychotropic medication. More than 1/3 of BDI and BAI scores were moderate to severe. The mean Short Form (SF)-36 scores were significantly lower than in the general population. Trends suggested more distress associated with: Caucasian race, female gender, less education, unemployment, and less previous legal involvement. Of 15 participants that completed a SCID-I, 13 participants met lifetime diagnostic criteria for at least one psychiatric disorder. The most common diagnoses were major depressive disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Three participants met diagnostic criteria for current psychotic disorder. Half of participants who currently met criteria for a disorder reported that they had never received psychiatric treatment. Results indicate participants currently were experiencing high rates of emotional symptoms. Serious mental illness was common. Many of these individuals had not been identified previously as needing psychiatric treatment. More frequent and thorough screening for psychiatric illness in drug court settings is necessary to identify serious psychiatric illnesses.

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