What is known on the subject?
People with mood disorders often use substances.
There are several clinician-driven hypotheses explaining the relationship.
What the paper adds to existing knowledge?
The paper draws together the existing research on the perceptions of those with lived experience of mood disorders on the reasons for using substances.
The participants in the studies identified using substances to manage their mood when treatment to manage their mood was not effective or acceptable, and as an escape from trauma and hardship.
What are the implications for practice?
Mental health nurses need an understanding of why people with mood disorders may use substances and the impact of this on their treatment.
Mental health nurses need to provide trauma-informed care that emphasizes harm reduction for those who have mood disorders and substance use.
Substance use is highly prevalent among people with mood disorders. Effective treatment for these people requires a better understanding of the relationship between both mood and substance use from the perspectives of those with lived experience.
What are the reasons those with lived experience of mood disorders give for substance use?
An integrative review was conducted. The Joanna Briggs Institute suite of critical appraisal tools was used to evaluate the quality of individual studies. Data relevant to the review question were extracted, and the results were synthesized into themes.
Eighteen papers met the eligibility criteria. Three themes were identified across the included studies: Managing my mood, More Effective than prescribed medication, and Escape from trauma and hardship.
This integrative review identified that people with a mood disorder who use substances described choosing to take substances to manage their mood, as an alternative to prescribed medications, and to cope with trauma and social hardships.
Implications for Practice
Mental health nurses need to provide care that recognizes why people use substances. They need to understand these reasons to provide a harm reduction and trauma-informed model of care. Evidence-based non-pharmacological interventions for mood disorders need to be available as an alternative to medications or as a supplement.