Co-morbidity of substance abuse and traumatic brain injury

Amanda L. Sacks, Cheree L. Fenske, Wayne A. Gordon, Mary R. Hibbard, Ken Perez, Susan Brandau, Joshua Cantor, Teresa Ashman, Lisa A. Spielman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


While there has been considerable research on the patterns of pre- and post-substance use among individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI), little is known about the incidence of co-morbidity between TBI and substance abuse (SA) in individuals whose primary disorder is SA. In the current study, the prevalence of co-occurring TBI in individuals seeking treatment for SA was examined. A total of 845 individuals seeking treatment for SA in New York State were screened via the Brain Injury Screening Questionnaire for the presence of a co-morbid TBI. Results indicate that more than 50% of the sample had results that were positive for a TBI. On average, individuals reported a mean of 6 8 blows to the head, with the number ranging from 0 to 57 and the average age of the first TBI being 14.5 years. Results indicate a high level of co-morbidity between TBI and SA and the need for routine screening for TBI in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-417
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Dual Diagnosis
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • Co-morbidity
  • Screening
  • Substance abuse
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Treatment


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