Quality of life in a community sample of young cocaine and/or heroin users: the role of mental disorders

M. Chahua, A. Sánchez-Niubò, M. Torrens, L. Sordo, M. J. Bravo, M. T. Brugal, A. Domingo-Salvany

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15 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015, Springer International Publishing Switzerland. Purpose: Drug addiction and psychiatric disorders are frequently concomitant; however, few studies have investigated the impact of psychiatric disorders other than substance use disorder (SUD) on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in drug users not in treatment. We studied the association of psychiatric disorders other than SUD with HRQoL in a street-recruited sample of cocaine and/or heroin users. Methods: It is a cross-sectional study involving 287 young users of cocaine and/or heroin in Barcelona, Spain. HRQoL was assessed with the Nottingham health profile (NHP). Patterns of drug use and mental disorders were assessed using the Spanish version of the psychiatric research interview for substance and mental disorders IV, and degree of dependence through the severity of dependence scale (SDS). The association of mental disorders with HRQoL was assessed through a Tobit regression analysis. Results: The overall NHP score was 23.9 (SD = 20.5, range 0–91.7). Sixty-one percent of the sample had two or more SUDs; 22 % had at least one non-SUD Axis I disorder (anxiety, mood, psychotic, or eating disorder); and 27.2 % had a borderline personality disorder (BPD) and/or antisocial personality disorder. Variables negatively associated with the global NHP score were psychosis [transformed beta coefficient: 15.23; 95 % confidence interval [CI] 4.48–25.97], BPD (9.55; 95 % CI 2.95–16.15), severity of dependence (8.12; 95 % CI 3.37–12.87), having two or more SUDs (for two or three SUDs: 6.83; 95 % CI 2.08–11.59) (>3 SUDs: 7.70; 95 % CI 1.72–13.68) and the intravenous use of some substance (10.20; 95 % CI 6.00–14.40). Conclusion: HRQoL among street-recruited illegal substance users was impaired, particularly among those with psychiatric comorbidity, psychosis, and BPD being especially relevant.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2129-2137
JournalQuality of Life Research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sep 2015


  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Illicit drug users
  • Psychotic disorders
  • Quality of life
  • Substance use disorder


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