Critical Issues  -  Co-Occurring Mental and Addictive Disorders

From: American Psychologist, Vol. 46, No. 10, 1036-1045, October 1991

Co-Occurring Disorders Among Mentally Ill Jail Detainees
Implications for Public Policy

Karen M. Abram
Linda A. Teplin

Psycho-legal Studies Program, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Northwestern University Medical School, and Northwestern Memorial Hospital


Studies have demonstrated that police often arrest the mentally ill when treatment alternatives would be preferable but are unavailable. Thus, jails may contain disproportionate numbers of severely mentally ill persons who have co-occurring disorders. Data on the co-occurrence of severe mental disorder, substance abuse, and antisocial personality disorders were gathered from 728 randomly selected male urban jail detainees. Using difference of proportions tests and loglinear analysis, the authors demonstrated that most subjects with a severe mental disorder (schizophrenia or a major affective disorder) also meet criteria for a substance abuse or antisocial personality disorder. These findings suggest several changes in public policy regarding health care delivery in correctional settings and for the general population.

Co-Occurring Mental and Addictive Disorders Co-Occuring Mental and Addictive Disorders

Background and Mission


Question of the Month