Anhedonia and Substance Use Disorders by Type, Severity, and With Mental Health Disorders

Samuel W. Stull, Jeremiah W. Bertz, David H. Epstein, Bethany C. Bray, Stephanie T. Lanza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objectives Anhedonia can accompany substance use disorders (SUDs); its severity may vary by substance type, severity of SUD symptoms, or psychiatric comorbidity. The goal of this study was to clarify the contribution of each. Methods Data were from participants aged 18 to 65 years in the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions III (n = 30,999; 51% women), a cross-sectional, nationally representative sample reporting lifetime DSM-5 symptoms and lifetime anhedonia. We used logistic regression to test how anhedonia was associated with specific SUDs and psychiatric disorders in respondents with one lifetime diagnosis. We used latent class analysis to assess the association of anhedonia with patterns of comorbidity in all respondents. Results Opioid use disorder (OUD) had the greatest odds of anhedonia relative to other SUDs (ORs [95% CIs]): mild alcohol use disorder (AUD) (3.33 [1.74, 6.38]), moderate/severe AUD (2.73 [1.41, 5.30]), and cannabis use disorder (3.21 [1.43, 7.19]), though not significantly greater than stimulant use disorder (2.44 [.88, 6.73]). Anhedonia was more likely in mood disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than in any SUD, except for PTSD versus OUD (OR [95% CIs] =.98 [.47, 2.02]). In latent class analysis analyses, the poly disorder class, which included SUDs and other diagnoses, had greater odds of anhedonia than the Poly SUD (ORs [95% CIs] = 1.62 [1.25, 2.09] and AUD 2.89 [2.40, 3.48]) classes. Conclusions People with OUD or a lifetime history of mood disorder or PTSD may be most likely to present to SUD treatment with anhedonia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E150-E156
JournalJournal of Addiction Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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