Considerations for People with Comorbid Conditions
People with comorbid conditions experience two or more illnesses or disorders at the same time.
Research shows a high
prevalence of comorbidities among those with substance use disorders (SUDs) and other conditions.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that 7.7
million adults experience co-occurring SUDs
and mental health disorders and over half do not receive the mental health or substance use treatment
they need. Co-occurring mental and physical health conditions may influence an individual's risk
factors for substance misuse and their ability to seek treatment and maintain stable recovery. Rural
SUD prevention and treatment programs may consider implementing holistic approaches that address
comorbid conditions, or partnering with organizations that can offer additional support.
Substance misuse can lead to risky sexual behavior, or needle sharing for people who inject drugs, which increases
the likelihood of contracting certain infections, including HIV and viral hepatitis. According to the
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in Western countries, hepatitis
C is most commonly spread through injection drug use. People living in rural areas who inject drugs
experience a variety of barriers
to accessing HIV and hepatitis C testing. Rural SUD treatment programs may consider screening for HIV
and hepatitis C and connecting patients to specialty care. The Rural HIV/AIDS
Prevention and Treatment Toolkit offers additional information.
Resources to Learn More
Dual Disorder Treatment
Provides information on the evidence-based Integrated Dual Disorder Treatment (IDDT) model that
combines severe mental health services with SUD services for people living with comorbid
Organization: Case Western Reserve University, Center for Evidence-Based Practices