Little is known about the role of a broad range of personality disorders in the course of substance use disorder (SUD) and whether these differ by substance. The existing literature focuses mostly on antisocial personality disorder and does not come to clear conclusions.
To determine the association between the 10 DSM-IV personality disorders and the persistence of common SUDs in a 3-year prospective study of a national sample.
Data were drawn from participants in the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) who had alcohol dependence (n = 1172), cannabis use disorder (n = 454), or nicotine dependence (n = 4017) at baseline and who were reinterviewed 3 years later. Control variables included demographic characteristics, family history of substance disorders, baseline Axis I disorders and treatment status, and prior SUD duration.
Main Outcome Measure
Persistent SUD, defined as meeting full criteria for the relevant SUD throughout the 3-year follow-up period.
Persistent SUD was found among 30.1% of participants with alcohol dependence, 30.8% with cannabis use disorder, and 56.6% with nicotine dependence at baseline. Axis I disorders did not have strong or consistent associations with persistent SUD. In contrast, antisocial personality disorder was significantly associated with persistent alcohol, cannabis, and nicotine use disorders (adjusted odds ratios, 2.46-3.51), as was borderline personality disorder (adjusted odds ratios, 2.04-2.78) and schizotypal personality disorder (adjusted odds ratios, 1.65-5.90). Narcissistic, schizoid, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorders were less consistently associated with SUD persistence.
The consistent findings on the association of antisocial, borderline, and schizotypal personality disorders with persistent SUD indicates the importance of these personality disorders in understanding the course of SUD. Future studies should examine dimensional representations of personality disorders and the role of specific components of these disorders, biological and environmental contributors to these relationships, and potential applications of these findings to treatment development.