Head injury among drug abusers: An indicator of co-occurring problems

Robert Walker, Matthew Hiller, Michele Staton, Carl G. Leukefeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Alcohol and other drug use has been associated with traumatic brain injury both as a contributing factor to the injury and as a complicating factor for rehabilitation. Brain injury is associated with an increase in mental health and other problems that may be related to drug and alcohol abuse and that may influence recovery. This study examined self-reports of 661 drug-abusing inmates with self-reported head injury, health problems and mental health problems. Three groups were examined for this study: those having no head injury, one head injury, and two or more head injuries. Results indicate that inmates with head injuries had a significantly greater number of health problems, higher levels of alcohol and marijuana use, and significantly more mental health problems including depression, anxiety, suicidal thinking, and difficulties in concentrating and controlling violent behavior. This study suggests that questions regarding head injuries during assessment may identify drug abusers who need a treatment approach that accommodates their co-occurring problems and difficulties with processing and complying with treatment interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-353
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Psychoactive Drugs
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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