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Concurrent Disorders Overview

People suffering from both mental health and substance use problems represent some of the most complex and difficult to treat cases, with frequent relapses and recurring crises tending to be the norm. It is not surprising, then, that they consume a significant amount of health care resources—and as a result, a larger proportion of the costs of care.

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Anxiety and Substance Use Disorders237SAIC-Concurrent-Disorders and Substance Use DisordersAnxiety and Substance Use DisordersThe risk of having a problem with drugs or alcohol is two-to-five times greater in people with anxiety disorders—a mental health condition that involves fear, worry or dread, as well as unpleasant sensations such as sweating or muscle tension.
Impulsivity and Substance Use Disorders241SAIC-Concurrent-Disorders and Substance Use DisordersImpulsivity and Substance Use Disorders​Impulsivity is the tendency to act without planning, forethought or restraint. Problems with impulse control are the single strongest predictor of future substance abuse.
Stress Trauma and Substance Use Disorders285SAIC-Concurrent-Disorders Trauma and Substance Use DisordersStress Trauma and Substance Use DisordersExposure to traumatic events can increase alcohol and drug use. This can lead to new traumatic experiences that, in turn, can lead to further substance use, perpetuating the stress-substance-use cycle.
Mood and Substance Use Disorders245SAIC-Concurrent-Disorders and Substance Use DisordersMood and Substance Use DisordersPeople with mood disorders—a mental health condition characterized by unusual changes in mood—are more likely to use substances. Conversely, people using substances are more likely to suffer from mood disorders.
Psychosis and Substance Use Disorders231SAIC-Concurrent-Disorders and Substance Use DisordersPsychosis and Substance Use DisordersThe rates of substance use disorders in people with psychosis or psychotic disorders—a severe mental disorder in which those affected lose touch with reality so that they are unable to function normally in society—are much higher than those in the general population in Canada.