Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment




Background and objectives

Poly-substance use and psychiatric comorbidity are common among individuals receiving substance detoxification services. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) are the most common co-occurring psychiatric disorders with substance use disorder (SUD). Current treatment favors a one-size-fits-all approach to treating addiction focusing on one substance or one comorbidity. Research examining patterns of substance use and comorbidities can inform efforts to effectively identify and differentially treat individuals with co-occurring conditions.


Using latent class analysis, the current study identified four patterns of PTSD, MDD, and substance use among 375 addiction treatment seekers receiving medically supervised detoxification.


The four identified classes were: 1) a PTSD-MDD-Poly SUD class characterized by PTSD and MDD occurring in the context of opioid, cannabis, and tobacco use disorders; 2) an MDD-Poly SUD class characterized by MDD and alcohol, opioid, tobacco, and cannabis use disorders; 3) an alcohol-tobacco class characterized by alcohol and tobacco use disorders; and 4) an opioid-tobacco use disorder class characterized by opioid and tobacco use disorders. The observed classes differed on gender and clinical characteristics including addiction severity, trauma history, and PTSD/MDD symptom severity.

Discussion and conclusions

The observed classes likely require differing treatment approaches. For example, people in the PTSD-MDD-Poly SUD class would likely benefit from treatment approaches targeting anxiety sensitivity and distress tolerance, while the opioid-tobacco class would benefit from treatments that incorporate motivational interviewing. Appropriate matching of treatment to class could optimize treatment outcomes for polysubstance and comorbid psychiatric treatment seekers. These findings also underscore the importance of well-developed referral networks to optimize outpatient psychotherapy for detoxification treatment-seekers to enhance long-term recovery, particularly those that include transdiagnostic treatment components.

First Page


Last Page






Substance Use Detox and Mental Illness.pdf (210 kB)
Summary Infographic

Included in

Psychology Commons