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NIAAA-funded study: Reducing substance use lessens violence risk in dually diagnosed

October 6, 2014
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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A new study from the University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions suggests that for people with co-occurring substance abuse and severe mental illness, reducing substance use has the greater bearing on mitigating violence risk.

“We were surprised to find that the severity of the patient's psychiatric symptoms was not the primary factor in predicting later aggression,” study co-author and institute senior research scientist Clara Bradizza said in an Oct. 1 news release.

The study, funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and published online in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, tracked for six months a group of nearly 300 patients participating in an outpatient program that treated co-occurring addiction and mental health disorders. Study authors emphasized that acts of violence are relatively rare in persons with mental illness, but that a greater risk exists among those with severe mental illness than in the general population.