Short-term outcomes of mothers and newborn infants with comorbid psychiatric disorders and drug dependency



Publication Details

Oei, J., Abdel-Latif, M. E., Craig, F., Kee, A., Austin, M., Lui, K. & Wright, I. M. R. (2009). Short-term outcomes of mothers and newborn infants with comorbid psychiatric disorders and drug dependency. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 43 (4), 323-331.


Objectives: The aim of the present study was to determine the characteristics and short-term outcomes of mother-infant pairs with comorbid drug dependency and psychiatric disorders. Methods: A population-based retrospective chart review was carried out of 879 drug-dependent mother and infant pairs in New South Wales (NSW) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) who delivered between 1 January and 31 December 2004. Results: Psychiatric comorbidity (dual diagnosis, DD) was identified in 396 (45%) of the 879 drug-dependent women. DSM-IV depression (79%), followed by anxiety (20%), was most prevalent. DD women were more likely to use amphetamines (29% vs 18%, p < 0.05), less likely to use opiates (42% vs 51%, p < 0.05) and to have had no antenatal care (24% vs 8%, p < 0.05). They also had more previous pregnancies (4, range = 2-5 vs 3, range = 2-5, p < 0.05) and domestic violence (29% vs 14%, p < 0.05) was more common. DD infants were less likely to be admitted to a nursery (47% vs 55%, p < 0.05). Withdrawal scores were similar (maximum median Finnegan scores = 4 (interquartile range = 3-8) vs 10 (interquartile range = 7-12, p = 0.30) but fewer needed withdrawal medication (19% vs 27%, p < 0.05). Maternal psychotropic agents did not worsen the severity of neonatal withdrawal. Conclusions: Psychiatric comorbidity, especially depression, is common and affects almost half of drug-using mothers. Antenatal care, drug use and social outcomes are worse for DD mothers and their infants. It is recommended that all drug-using women be assessed antenatally for psychosocial disorders so that timely mental health intervention can be offered, if required.

Please refer to publisher version or contact your library.



Link to publisher version (DOI)