Common Comorbidity with Substance Use Disorders 2018


Comorbidity is the occurrence of more than two disorders in an individual, occurring once or following one another. When two disorders in an individual interact, health conditions worsen and increase human suffering. In modern days, comorbid mental illness and substance use disorder is prevalent. Adolescents and young adults addicted to different drugs develop mental illness. Addiction usually alters the normal functioning of the brain and increases an individual’s desire to seek and abuse drugs. Drug abusers have compulsive behaviors that ruin the ability of a person to control impulses. Substance use disorder is common to individuals with mental illnesses. At least 50% of US citizens with substance use disorder suffer from mental illnesses (NIDA, 2018). Comorbid substance use disorders co-occur because of common risk factors like genes, trauma, and excess stress. Also, mental illnesses intensify the behavior of substance and drug abuse. Dangerous drugs are prioritized by the majority of people with mental illnesses as self-medication. Although most people think substance and drug abuse help limit some mental illness conditions, excessive use of addictive drugs drain brain cells and predispose an individual to exceed the habit of drug and substance abuse. The factsheet considers the interests of human services addictions interns.

The comorbid substance use disorders include post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorder and panic disorder. Analysis of data from a large national sample indicates that US citizens diagnosed with mental, personality and drug abuse illnesses were vulnerable to abuse of opioids and other drugs. Comorbid disorders may attack an individual at any time in life since mental illness conditions develop in an individual slowly after getting introduced to hard drugs which are addictive.  Between 2009 and 2015 in the US, researchers identified that comorbid substance use disorders increased among the population of people identified and diagnosed with mental illnesses (NIDA, 2018). A higher percentage was witnessed in US people with substance use disorders (SUD) who developed mental illness from 20114 to 2015.

Figure 1: Interaction between Mental Illness and Substance use disorder.

In the treatment of people with substance use disorder at a federal level, health practitioners consider their mental illness conditions. Among US youths, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder develops when they abuse drugs and other substances without limits. Severe mental illness results in intense substance and drug abuse among adolescents and youths in the US (NIDA, 2018). A mental disorder affecting an adolescent may increase chances of drug and substance abuse disorders in adulthood. Drug problems are prevalent in children with untreated attention-deficit hyperactivity.

Reasons for Comorbidity between mental illnesses and substance use disorders

The common risk factors, substance use and mental illnesses are pathways involved in comorbidity. Common risk factors influence mental illness and addiction resulting from substance use. Genetic vulnerabilities is amongst common risk factors contributing to morbidity in substance use disorders and mental illnesses. Genetics contributes the highest percentage on a person’s vulnerability to a particular substance use disorder. Complex interactions in multiple genes provide an active region for substance use comorbidity (NIDA, 2018). Products of genes in an individual behave like proteins influencing an individual’s response to a particular drug. For instance, cigarette smoking and alcohol dependence generate specific genes predisposing an individual’s mental illness conditions.

Epigenetic influences resulting from gene regulation activities and environmental factors influence comorbidity of substance abuse disorder in adolescents and young adults. Neural circuits function differently after modifications are made to encoding proteins in a human body(Druss & Walker, 2011). Therefore, the developmental stage of an individual experiences high risks of mental illnesses, especially when adolescents are involved in substance abuse behavior. Substance abusers increase their rate of developing mental illness as they mature as illustrated in the figure below:

Figure 2: Percentage of individuals with mental disorders

The figure above illustrates that drug administration begins in adulthood, and as individuals mature, the substance use disorders intensify affecting their health mostly while in adulthood. Epigenetic influences to comorbidity of substance abuse disorders integrate genetic and environmental factors like drug exposure, chronic stress and trauma.

Comorbidity occurs between mental illnesses and substance use disorders because of brain region involvement. The human brain is fragile to substance use disorders as well as mental illnesses. A brain possesses circuits that influence an individual’s decision making, help in impulse control and regulate emotions (NIDA, 2018). When addiction results in depression, psychiatric disorders and schizophrenia, some of the brain’s circuits stop functioning normally, hence comorbidity between substances use disorders and disturbing mental illnesses. Stress and trauma also influence comorbidity among addicts. More so, mental illnesses influence addiction and morbidity when drugs are used by mentally-ill people as a form of self-medication, lack of control results in abuse and later addiction.

Some of the substances commonly abused include heroin, nicotine, opioid, alcohol and Marijuana.

Table 1: Comorbid SUD

The Approaches in Diagnosis of Comorbid Substance Abuse Disorder

Behavior therapies in regard to age, and drug misused are approaches prioritized in the diagnosis of comorbid substance use disorders. Diagnosis starts with the identification of common genetic, environmental and neural substrates of particular substance use disorders. Individuals with psychiatric illnesses are supposed to undergo screening to identify the symptoms of substance abuse disorders affecting their health. Over the years, it has been complicated to diagnose comorbid substance abuse disorder effectively. Clinical diagnosis of comorbidity involves evaluating the level of aspects like mood, psychotic, hyperactivity, anxiety and attention deficit developing in patients with comorbidity substance use disorder (NIDA, 2018). Clinical severity is impacted by psychiatric comorbidity; hence diagnosis help explain the psychosocial functioning of individuals with severe comorbidity of substance use and harmful mental health disorders. Optimal management of diagnosis by therapists involves a better understanding of efficacy, and side effects of comorbidity substance use disorders.

Treatment of comorbid conditions among patients involves different approaches. Cognitive behavioral therapy is prioritized when changing harmful behaviors in individuals like regular substance abuse, which may result in addiction and later severe mental illnesses. Also, dialectical behavior therapy is utilized as an approach in the treatment of comorbid conditions and the approach targets limiting self-harm behaviors like excess drug use and thoughts that may trigger suicide (NIDA, 2018). Assertive community treatment focus on community outreach urging individuals to undergo better treatment options whenever comorbidity substance use disorders strike. Other approaches in diagnosis and treatment of common comorbidities include therapeutic communities and contingency management. The co-occurring substance use disorders make an individual experience physical health conditions like heart disease, chronic pain and cancer. Limiting substance abuse reduces the risk of chronic pain. The high rate of tobacco use and opioid misuse results in macular degeneration, erectile dysfunction and impaired immune function.

In Europe, patients with comorbid substance use disorders and those suffering from mental illnesses utilize sequential model, parallel model and integrated model in the treatment of their comorbid conditions. The sequential model involves the treatment of psychiatric and substance use disorders with little communication between patients and healthcare providers(EMCDDA, 2016). Serious mental illnesses are treated first and before other common substance use disorders when the sequential model is implemented. Patients undergoing sequential treatment model may be passed through healthcare services, and risk of relapse intensifies, hence the model is not suitable for dual diagnosis patients. Also, a parallel model is used in the treatment of comorbid conditions whereby two or more comorbid disorders may be treated at the same time. Mental health services and use of prescription drugs concurrently treat patients with comorbidity substance abuse disorders when the parallel model is prioritized. A treatment plan mostly lacks overall coherence when the parallel model is used in the treatment of comorbid conditions in patients. Moreover, an integrated model is used in the treatment of comorbid disorders. The integrated model provides treatment options based on a special comorbidity program. Treatment options under integrated model constitute behavioral and motivational interventions for comorbidity substance use disorders. Also, the integrated model helps in relapse prevention when treating severe mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders.

Clinicians provide recommendations on effective treatment of comorbidity substance use disorders. For instance, the use of antipsychotic drugs should consider the type and level of substances abused. Records showing that a patient misuses heroin and marijuana should guide clinical officers to concentrate on an integrated treatment model when providing healthcare interventions to the patient(EMCDDA, 2016). Patients should be warned about the dangers of misusing substances while underprescribed medications. Integrating psychological and antipsychotic treatments improves the health of a patient with comorbid conditions.








Druss, B. G., & Walker, E. R. (2011). Mental disorders and medical comorbidity. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Retrieved from

EMCDDA. (2016). Comorbidity of substance use and mental health disorders in Europe. Perspectives on Drugs. Retrieved from

NIDA. (2018, February 27). Common Comorbidities with Substance Use Disorders. Retrieved from on 2019, January 3

Figure 1. Retrieved from SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, Mental Health, Detailed Tables.Available at:

Figure 2. Adapted from National Comorbidity Survey, retrieved from

Table 1. Retrieved from


Get Professional Assignment Help Cheaply

Buy Custom Essay

Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?

Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.

Why Choose Our Academic Writing Service?

  • Plagiarism free papers
  • Timely delivery
  • Any deadline
  • Skilled, Experienced Native English Writers
  • Subject-relevant academic writer
  • Adherence to paper instructions
  • Ability to tackle bulk assignments
  • Reasonable prices
  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • Get superb grades consistently

Online Academic Help With Different Subjects


Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.


Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.

Computer science

Computer science is a tough subject. Fortunately, our computer science experts are up to the match. No need to stress and have sleepless nights. Our academic writers will tackle all your computer science assignments and deliver them on time. Let us handle all your python, java, ruby, JavaScript, php , C+ assignments!


While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.


Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.


In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.


Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.


We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!


We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.


Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.

What discipline/subjects do you deal in?

We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.

Are your writers competent enough to handle my paper?

Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.

What if I don’t like the paper?

There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.

Reasons being:

  • When assigning your order, we match the paper’s discipline with the writer’s field/specialization. Since all our writers are graduates, we match the paper’s subject with the field the writer studied. For instance, if it’s a nursing paper, only a nursing graduate and writer will handle it. Furthermore, all our writers have academic writing experience and top-notch research skills.
  • We have a quality assurance that reviews the paper before it gets to you. As such, we ensure that you get a paper that meets the required standard and will most definitely make the grade.

In the event that you don’t like your paper:

  • The writer will revise the paper up to your pleasing. You have unlimited revisions. You simply need to highlight what specifically you don’t like about the paper, and the writer will make the amendments. The paper will be revised until you are satisfied. Revisions are free of charge
  • We will have a different writer write the paper from scratch.
  • Last resort, if the above does not work, we will refund your money.

Will the professor find out I didn’t write the paper myself?

Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.

What if the paper is plagiarized?

We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.

When will I get my paper?

You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.

Will anyone find out that I used your services?

We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.

How our Assignment  Help Service Works

1.      Place an order

You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.

2.      Pay for the order

Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.

3.      Track the progress

You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.

4.      Download the paper

The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.

smile and order essaysmile and order essay PLACE THIS ORDER OR A SIMILAR ORDER WITH US TODAY AND GET A PERFECT SCORE!!!

order custom essay paper