Neuroimaging Studies in Patients With Mental Disorder and Co-occurring Substance Use Disorder: Summary of Findings

Introduction: More than half of psychiatric patients have comorbid substance use disorder (dual diagnosis) and this rate, confirmed by many epidemiological studies, is substantially higher compared to general population. Combined operation of self-medication mechanisms, common etiological factors, and mutually causative influences most likely accounts for comorbidity, which, despite its clinical prevalence, remains underrepresented in psychiatric research, especially in terms of neuroimaging. The current paper attempts to review and discuss all existing methodologically sustainable structural and functional neuroimaging studies in comorbid subjects published in the last 20 years.Methods: Performing a systematic PubMed/MEDLINE, Web of Science, and Cochrane databases search with predefined key-words and selection criteria, 43 structural and functional neuroimaging studies were analyzed.Results: Although markedly inconsistent and confounded by a variety of sources, available data suggest that structural brain changes are slightly more pronounced, yet not qualitatively different in comorbid patients compared to non-comorbid ones. In schizophrenia (SZ) patients, somewhat greater gray matter reduction is seen in cingulate cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal and frontotemporal cortex, limbic structures (hippocampus), and basal ganglia (striatum). The magnitude of structural changes is positively correlated to duration and severity of substance use, but it is important to note that at le...
Source: Frontiers in Psychiatry - Category: Psychiatry Source Type: research

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