Co-Occurrence of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Substance Use Disorders Among U.S. Veterans: Prevalence and Mental Health Utilization
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and substance-use disorders (SUDs) co-occur at high rates, which is related to poorer psychosocial outcomes. Prior work suggests that, among veterans in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), OCD is underdiagnosed and undertreated, which can compound negative effects of OCD and SUD co-occurrence. This study identified patterns of OCD and specific SUD co-occurrence and their effect on mental health and substance-use screening measures and mental healthcare utilization. Using VHA administrative data, we identified veterans with an OCD diagnosis from 2010 to 2016 (N = 38,157); 36.70% also had a SUD diagnosis. Specific SUD rates are alcohol-use disorder, 17.17%; cannabis-use disorder, 5.53%; opioid-use disorder, 3.60%; amphetamine-use disorder, 1.49%; cocaine-use disorder, 3.37%; and tobacco-use disorder, 26.50%. Veterans with co-occurring OCD and SUD used more mental health services throughout the data capture period. Findings suggest that OCD and SUD co-occur at high rates within the VHA, and that this is associated with more burden to the healthcare system. Targeted screening and treatment efforts may help address the needs of this population.