Correlates of self-medication for anxiety disorders: results from the National Epidemiolgic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions.J Nerv Ment Dis. 2009 Dec; 197(12):873-8.JN
Self-medication is a common behavior among individuals with anxiety disorders, yet few studies have examined the correlates of this behavior. The current study addresses this issue by exploring the pattern of mental health service use and quality of life among people who self-medicate for anxiety. Data came from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions and was limited to the subsample of individuals meeting criteria for an anxiety disorder in the past 12 months (n = 4880). Multiple regression analyses compared 3 groups-(1) no self-medication, (2) self-medication with alcohol, and (3) self-medication with drugs, on mental health service use and quality of life. After adjusting for potentially confounding covariates, individuals who engaged in self-medication had significantly higher service use compared with people with anxiety disorders who did not self-medicate (adjusted odds ratio = 1.41, 95% CI = 1.06-1.89). Self-medication was also associated with a lower mental health-related quality of life compared with those who did not self-medicate. Clinicians should recognize and respond to the unique needs of this particular subpopulation of individuals with anxiety disorders.