Understanding how people with mental health difficulties experience substance use

Chorlton, Emma and Smith, Ian (2016) Understanding how people with mental health difficulties experience substance use. Substance Use and Misuse, 51 (3). pp. 318-329. ISSN 1082-6084

PDF (Substance_use_and_misuse_submission_after_reviewer_comments_final_Aug_2015[1])
Substance_use_and_misuse_submission_after_reviewer_comments_final_Aug_2015_1_.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (119kB)
Microsoft Word (Table 2 23.3.15)
Table_2_23.3.15.doc - Accepted Version

Download (28kB)
Microsoft Word (table 1 new version 2 word)
table_1_new_version_2_word.doc - Accepted Version

Download (35kB)


Background Quantitative studies dominate research exploring reasons for substance use and experiences of substance use by people with mental health difficulties. This limits the depth of understanding which can be gained about these experiences. Objectives In the present article we synthesized current qualitative research in this area to provide enhanced theoretical knowledge of these experiences. Methods Following a systematic literature search, we identified 12 studies which explored how people with mental health difficulties experienced using substances, and which met additional inclusion criterion. We used Noblit and Hare’s metaethnographic approach to qualitatively synthesize these studies. Results Synthesis led to the development of two themes; ‘substance use mediates acceptance and social inclusion’ and ‘substance use provides perceived opportunities for control and power’. Conclusions/Importance The findings suggest that in the studies reviewed people's motivation for substance use was embedded in social and psychological contexts. It indicated that substance use could provide perceived benefits such as mediating the impact of mental health stigma, enabling the development of alternative identities, increasing their sense of power and providing opportunities for social inclusion. Mental health and substance use workers should therefore aim to develop alternative opportunities for people with co-occurring disorders to gain such benefits, and seek to challenge mental health stigma.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Substance Use and Misuse
Additional Information:
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Substance Use and Misuse on 19/02/2016, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/10826084.2015.1108341
Uncontrolled Keywords:
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
09 Sep 2015 06:32
Last Modified:
22 Sep 2023 00:25