Latent trajectories of anxiety and depressive symptoms among adults in early treatment for nonmedical opioid use

Jennifer D. Ellis, Jill A. Rabinowitz, Jonathan Wells, Fangyu Liu, Patrick H. Finan, Michael D. Stein, Denis G.Antoine II, Gregory J. Hobelmann, Andrew S. Huhn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Understanding the course of anxiety and depressive symptoms in early opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment may inform efforts to promote positive early treatment response and reduce treatment attrition. Methods: Persons in treatment for nonmedical opioid use were identified from 86 addiction treatment facilities. Growth mixture modeling was used to identify trajectories of anxiety and depression symptoms during the first month of treatment among individuals who screened positive for depression (N = 3016) and/or anxiety (N = 2779) at intake. Results: A three-class solution best fit the data for anxiety symptoms and included the following trajectories: (1) persistent moderate-to-severe anxiety symptoms, (2) remitting severe anxiety symptoms, and (3) persistent minimal-to-mild anxiety symptoms. Similarly, a three-class solution best fit the data for depressive symptoms and included trajectories characterized by (1) persistent moderate-to-severe depressive symptoms, (2) persistent moderate depressive symptoms, and (3) mild/remitting depressive symptoms. Persistent moderate-to-severe anxiety and depressive symptoms were predicted by female gender and heavy past-month benzodiazepine co-use. Limitations: Fine grained-information about substance use was not collected. Results may not be generalizable to individuals receiving treatment outside of specialty addiction clinics. Conclusions: Analysis of anxiety and depression symptom trajectories in early treatment suggest that a subset of individuals entering treatment for opioid use experienced persistent and significant anxiety and depressive symptoms, whereas others experience a remission of symptoms. Interventions designed to target individuals at the greatest risk, such as women and individuals reporting opioid/benzodiazepine co-use, may help improve mental health symptoms in early OUD treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-232
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
StatePublished - Feb 15 2022


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Opioids
  • Polysubstance use
  • Sex differences
  • Trajectories

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Latent trajectories of anxiety and depressive symptoms among adults in early treatment for nonmedical opioid use'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this