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Variables Associated With Alcohol, Drug, and Daily Smoking Cessation in Patients With Severe Mental Illnesses

J Clin Psychiatry 2005;66:1447-1455

Background: Co-occurrence of substance use disorders and severe mental illnesses (SMIs) is a major U.S. public health issue, although the role of tobacco is usually neglected. This study explored variables associated with alcohol, drug, and smoking cessation in a naturalistic setting.

Method: Logistic regression was used to study variables associated with cessation of alcohol and drug use disorder and daily smoking in 560 SMI inpatients and outpatients from central Kentucky facilities. Patients with a lifetime history of alcohol or drug use disorder were considered to be in cessation if they had not suffered from abuse or dependence during the last year. Alcohol and drug use disorder diagnoses were determined using the Clinician Rating of Alcohol and Drug Use Disorder. Patients were recruited from July 2000 to March 2003.

Results: The cessation rates for alcohol and drug use disorders were, respectively, 44% (95% CI = 39% to 49%) and 46% (CI = 40% to 51%); these were higher than the daily cigarette smoking cessation rate of 10% (CI = 7% to 13%). Drug use disorders (p< = .02), outpatient status (p < .001), and having a medical complication of obesity (diabetes mellitus, hypertension, or hyperlipidemia; p < .001) were significantly associated with alcohol cessation. Alcohol use disorder (p< .001), taking these medications for 14 years or more (p = .02), schizophrenia diagnosis (p < .001), outpatient status (p = .03), and obesity (p = .04) were significantly associated with drug cessation. Cessation of daily smoking was associated with hypertension (p = .02), late start of treatment with psychiatric medications ( > 33 years old; p = .01), and lack of lifetime drug abuse (p < .001).

Conclusions: These results are limited by the cross-sectional and naturalistic design but suggest that public health experts, researchers, and clinicians need to mindfully address smoking cessation in patients with SMIs. Clinicians may want to consider that medical illnesses may motivate patients with SMIs to stop substance abuse and that patients with SMIs who abuse both alcohol and drugs rarely stop abusing just one of them.