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Co-Occurring Disorders and Other Health Conditions


What are Co-Occurring Disorders?

People with substance use disorders (SUDs) are at particular risk for developing one or more primary conditions or chronic diseases. The coexistence of both a mental illness and SUD is known as a co-occurring disorder, and is common among people in treatment.

People with mental illness are more likely to experience an SUD than those not affected by a mental illness. According to SAMHSA’s 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 21.5 million adults in the United States have a co-occurring disorder.

It is important to note that combining medications used for SUD with anxiety treatment medications can have serious adverse effects. Common benzodiazepines include Xanax, Valium, Klonopin among others.

Co-occurring disorders may include any combination of two or more SUDs and mental disorders identified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5-TR). No specific combinations of mental and substance use disorders are defined uniquely as co-occurring disorders.

Learn more about mental health and substance use disorders.

The most common mental disorders:

The most common mental disorders:

  • Anxiety and mood disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Conduct disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Patients being treated for mental disorders often misuse the following types of substances:

Patients being treated for mental disorders often misuse the following types of substances:

  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Opioids
  • Stimulants
  • Marijuana
  • Hallucinogens
  • Prescription drugs
HIV, AIDS, and Viral Hepatitis

HIV, AIDS, and Viral Hepatitis

HIV, AIDS, and viral hepatitis are important public health concerns for both patients and health professionals in substance use disorder treatment programs. Use of medications for SUD treatment typically involves HIV and hepatitis antibody testing at admission, or a referral for antibody testing.

HIV and hepatitis prevention and reduced transmission are key goals of OTPs and other programs designed to treat substance use disorders. In addition, HIV testing and risk-reduction counseling, have been shown to stop or decrease drug use and related risk behaviors, including risky injection practices and unsafe sex.

HIV and AIDS in Treatment

Drug use is an important driver of the HIV epidemic. According to the CDC’s HIV and Injection Drug Use, about 1 in 10 new HIV diagnoses in the United States are attributed to injection drug use (2,492 cases) and male-to-male sexual contact and injection drug use (1,372 cases). CDC reports that in 2018, adult and adolescent people who inject drugs in the US accounted for 10 percent of all new HIV diagnoses.

HIV is transmitted by contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person. This can occur during unprotected sex or through the sharing of needles. In addition, untreated infected women can pass HIV to their infants during pregnancy, delivery, and breastfeeding. Alcohol and drug misuse can also worsen the symptoms of HIV, causing greater neuronal injury and cognitive impairment.

Hepatitis in Treatment

There are three major strains of hepatitis virus infection: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. People at high risk for infection can be protected by vaccination against hepatitis A and hepatitis B. Currently, there is no vaccination against hepatitis C.

  • Hepatitis A – A self-limiting foodborne pathogen, can induce severe liver disease in drug users already infected with another hepatitis virus.
  • Hepatitis B – Can be spread through sexual contact, blood transfusions, or by the re-use of contaminated needles.
  • Hepatitis C – Injection drug use is the major source of hepatitis C infection in the United States, and a risk factor for contracting and spreading hepatitis C.

Learn more about hepatitis.

Resources and Publications

The following publications and resources highlight the link between substance misuse and comorbid HIV and AIDS:

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Opioid Treatment Program Directory

Find treatment programs in your state that treat addiction and dependence on opioids.

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Buprenorphine is a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat Opioid Use Disorder (OUD).


Methadone is a medication used to treat Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). Methadone is a long-acting full opioid agonist, and a schedule II controlled medication.


Naltrexone is a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat both alcohol use disorder (AUD) and opioid use disorder (OUD).

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Contact Information

Opioid Treatment Program Contacts
For information about Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) or the certification of opioid treatment programs (OTPs), contact the SAMHSA Division of Pharmacologic Therapies at 240-276-2700 or DPT@SAMHSA.HHS.Gov. For assistance with the Opioid Treatment Program Extranet, contact the OTP helpdesk at 1-866-348-5741 or

Provider Support Contacts
For general information, providers can contact SAMHSA's Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) at 1-866-287-2728 or email

Last Updated
Last Updated: 03/29/2024
Last Updated