Chapter 8.0: Co-Occurring Conditions

This chapter introduces diagnosable physical and mental/behavioral health issues that commonly co-occur with substance misuse.  The frequently used term dual diagnosis is somewhat limiting as it refers specifically to diagnosable mental conditions and to only a pair of them co-occurring; considerable numbers of individuals experience more than two co-occurring conditions and/or non-diagnosable challenges (Reedy, 2020). Another term, comorbidity, again refers specifically to diagnosable conditions that occur either simultaneously or sequentially (NIDA, 2010). The term co-occurring problems its a term that includes diagnosable conditions and may also include a broader array of challenges which can impede recovery and treatment efforts.

Reading Objectives

After engaging with these reading materials and learning resources, you should be able to:

  • Explain the relationships between substance misuse/substance use disorders and several commonly co-occurring physical health and mental/behavioral health challenges;
  • Identify epidemiological trends in their co-occurrence and how this might impact intervention strategies;
  • Define several key terms related to problems that tend to co-occur with substance use, substance misuse, and substance use disorders.


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Introduction to Substance Use Disorders by Patricia Stoddard Dare and Audrey Begun is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.