Psychiatric comorbidity and intimate partner violence among women who inject drugs in Europe: a cross-sectional study
Women who inject drugs (WWID) are an especially vulnerable group of drug users. This study determined the prevalence of psychiatric comorbidity and intimate partner violence (IPV), and factors associated with psychiatric comorbidity among WWID recruited from drug treatment services (67%) and harm reduction services in five European regions in Austria, Catalonia, Italy, Poland, and Scotland. Psychiatric comorbidity was assessed among 226 WWID using the Dual Diagnosis Screening Instrument. IPV was assessed using the Composite Abuse Scale and injecting and sexual risk
behaviors were assessed using a battery of questionnaires adapted and developed for the study. Eighty-seven percent met criteria for at least one lifetime psychiatric disorder. The most common disorders were depression (76%), panic (54%), and post-traumatic stress (52%). WWID recruited in drug treatment services were almost three times as likely (OR 2.90 95% CI 1.30–6.43; p = 0.007) to meet criteria for a lifetime psychiatric disorder than those recruited from harm reduction services, specifically dysthymia (OR 5.32 95% CI 2.27–12.48; p = 0.000) and post-traumatic stress disorder (OR 1.83 95% CI 1.02–3.27; p = 0.040). WWID who reported sharing needles and syringes were almost three times as likely to meet
criteria for lifetime psychiatric comorbidity than those who did not (OR 2.65 95% CI 1.07–6.56). Compared to WWID who had not experienced IPV, victims (70%) were almost two times more likely to meet criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (OR 1.95 95% CI 1.10–3.48). Psychiatric comorbidity and IPV among WWID are common. Drug treatment and harm reduction services should address psychiatric comorbidity and IPV to improve treatment outcomes.
This work was awarded the EMCDDA scientific award in 2018 in the category 'Population based and clinical epidemiology'.