About this Research Topic
The high comorbidity of Substance Use Disorders (SUD), including Alcohol Use Disorder, with other psychiatric disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety implies common or intersecting mechanisms. If identified and understood these mechanisms have the potential to broadly impact mental health. Recent advances in human and animal research are providing insight into shared neurobiological circuits and substrates across SUDs and their comorbid elements, for which we have also gained insight into overlapping genetic, environmental, and psychosocial risk factors. Such factors have opened new avenues to approaching prevention and treatment.
This Research Topic will explore the relationships between SUDs and their comorbid psychiatric disorders; their genetics, neurobiology, epidemiology, and vulnerabilities. One question of interest is the all-important chicken vs. egg question, i.e., has the drug use exposed underlying mental health issues, facilitated their development, or created them altogether? In this regard, the Research Topic will address not only concepts of “self-medication” but also consider elements of drug use that could precipitate mental health disorders and facilitate the transition from recreational and controlled drug use to addiction.
Another area of interest is in addressing drug-specific interactions, such as the extremely high incidence of nicotine addiction in individuals suffering from schizophrenia, or opioids and alcohol use disorder for those with PTSD, as well as other less definitive interactions such as psychostimulant use and depression.
Although stigmatization and relative lack of representation of patients with SUD-MHD comorbidities in mental health research, and consequently treatment, has hindered gathering accurate population data, this is a changing landscape and future research in the area of drug abuse prevention and treatment must consider the interactive synergism with mental health disorders. This Research Topic integrates basic animal and human studies revealing these links and welcomes reviews.
Keywords: Substance Use Disorders, Comorbidity
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