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Understanding Co-Occurring Disorders

By KSU Counseling Services Staff

Preview Points

  • Young adults with mental health issues also seem to have alcohol or substance use issues. This is especially true for young adults with depression.
  • Experiencing both mental health and substance abuse problems is known as a "co-occurring disorder" (Co-occurring disorders, 2008, p. 1.
  • Substance use includes alcohol use, smoking, and marijuana use.
  • Students with poor mental health tend to engage more in risky behaviors, which may further endanger their health and productivity.


Because young adults with mental health issues tend to also mis-use alcohol and controlled substances, they need to be professionally treated in a way that takes into consideration these various co-occurring disorders.

The mental health challenges may affect young adult risk-taking, which may compound the challenges of that individual's life.

Concluding Points

  • "Co-occurring disorders" are not uncommon among young adults with mental health and depression issues.
  • The abuse of alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs has harmful effects on the individual.


Co-occurring disorders. (2008). Campus Health and Safety.org. 1 – 2.

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Understanding Co-Occurring Disorders (pdf)