Comorbid substance use disorders with other Axis I and II mental disorders among treatment-seeking Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, and mixed-race people.

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Little is known about behavioral healthcare needs of Asian Americans (AAs), Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders (NHs/PIs), and mixed-race people (MRs)-the fastest growing segments of the U.S. population. We examined substance use disorder (SUD) prevalences and comorbidities among AAs, NHs/PIs, and MRs (N = 4572) in a behavioral health electronic health record database. DSM-IV diagnoses among patients aged 1-90 years who accessed behavioral healthcare from 11 sites were systematically captured: SUD, anxiety, mood, personality, adjustment, childhood-onset, cognitive/dementia, dissociative, eating, factitious, impulse-control, psychotic/schizophrenic, sleep, and somatoform diagnoses. Of all patients, 15.0% had a SUD. Mood (60%), anxiety (31.2%), adjustment (30.9%), and disruptive (attention deficit-hyperactivity, conduct, oppositional defiant, disruptive behavior diagnosis, 22.7%) diagnoses were more common than others (psychotic 14.2%, personality 13.3%, other childhood-onset 11.4%, impulse-control 6.6%, cognitive 2.8%, eating 2.2%, somatoform 2.1%). Less than 1% of children aged <12 years had SUD. Cannabis diagnosis was the primary SUD affecting adolescents aged 12-17. MRs aged 35-49 years had the highest prevalence of cocaine diagnosis. Controlling for age at first visit, sex, treatment setting, length of treatment, and number of comorbid diagnoses, NHs/PIs and MRs were about two times more likely than AAs to have ≥ 2 SUDs. Regardless of race/ethnicity, personality diagnosis was comorbid with SUD. NHs/PIs with a mood diagnosis had elevated odds of having SUD. Findings present the most comprehensive patterns of mental diagnoses available for treatment-seeking AAs, NHs/PIs, and MRs in the real-world medical setting. In-depth research is needed to elucidate intraracial and interracial differences in treatment needs.





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Wu, Li-Tzy, Dan G Blazer, Kenneth R Gersing, Bruce Burchett, Marvin S Swartz, Paolo Mannelli and undefined NIDA AAPI Workgroup (2013). Comorbid substance use disorders with other Axis I and II mental disorders among treatment-seeking Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, and mixed-race people. Journal of psychiatric research, 47(12). pp. 1940–1948. 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2013.08.022 Retrieved from

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Daniel German Blazer

Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

I am currently semi-retired. Most of my recent work has been focused on roles with the National Academy of Medicine (former Institute of Medicine). I have chaired three committees during the past four years, one on the mental health and substance use workforce, one on cognitive aging, and one on hearing loss in adults. I currently also chair the Board on the Health of Select Populations for the National Academies. 

In the past I have been PI on a number of research projects, including the Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study, and  the Clinical Research Center for Late Life Depression.  More recently I have been involved with five  research projects. The first, the Established Populations for Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly (EPESE), included a study demonstrating that sleep complaints are more frequent in white compared to blacks, even when relevant demographic variables are controlled. In a second study, day-time napping was a significant predictor of mortality. A third study in the Piedmont of North Carolina revealed no difference in utilization or satisfaction with health services when urban elders were compared with rural elders. In a fourth study, self-rated health was not as strong a predictor of mortality, as has been found in previous studies, especially when controlling for important covariates.

A second research endeavor has been with the National Comorbidity Study. I led investigators who demonstrated that the prevalence of major depression is higher than previously estimated in national samples of persons between the ages of eighteen and fifty-five in the community and discussed the methodological issues that may contribute to this differing estimate. The risk-factor profile of pure major depression was compared with comorbid major depression. I will continue in this research during 1994/95 to look at Seasonal Affective Disorders (SAD).

I have also worked with my colleague Litzy Wu ScD in the study of substance use disorders and have published a number of papers related to substance use in the elderly. I also work closely with my colleague Celia Hybels, PhD looking at trajectories of depressive symptoms in older adults over time.

I spent considerable time during 1994/97 working on four books. I co-edited the second edition of Geriatric Psychiatry, to be published in the late winter of 1994 or early spring of 1995. I am working on a single author book, Freud vs. God: The End of the Debate/How Psychiatry Lost Its Soul and Christianity Lost Its Mind and on a research methods textbook for clinical psychiatry research. I have produced a second edition of Emotional Problems in Later Life. Since then our Textbook of Geriatric Psychiatry has gone through three additional editions and I published (based on my work during a sabbatical at the Center for Advanced Studies of Behavioral Sciences at Stanford) The Age of Melancholy (for which I received the Oscar Pfister Award from the American Psychiatric Association).


Paolo Mannelli

Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

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