A National Directory of Drug Treatment Centers and Alcohol Treatment Centers, Therapists and Specialists. A free, simple directory providing assistance and guidance for those seeking help regarding alcohol addiction, drug addiction, dependency and many other conditions that affect the mind, body and soul.
Call 800-580-9104 to speak with an alcohol or drug abuse counselor.

Substance Abuse and Mental Illness – Current Statistics

It is a long-observed conclusion that many people with substance abuse problems also have mental health issues. The debate often rests on whether or not one causes the other and if treatment of one can make the other disappear. This can be a heated topic, as some experts insist on treating both as co-occurring disorders, while others may feel that the mental illness symptoms will can go away when the substance abuse is halted. Frankly, there is evidence to support both theories and practices, and to try and stick all people who display such symptoms into one category or another is a wholesale injustice to those needing help. The treatment should be specific to the individual.

According to the most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), drug use in the past year was more likely among adults aged 18 or older with past year any form of mental illness than it was among adults who did not have mental illness in the past year, which was about 25 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

substance abuse and mental health

Substance abuse treatment needs to be individualized.

This pattern was similar for most specific types of illicit drug use, including the use of marijuana, cocaine, hallucinogens, inhalants, or heroin and the non-medical use of prescription drugs. Only alcohol use had a smaller margin of difference, but the rate was still higher among those diagnosed with any mental illness. This was observed for both binge drinking and heavy alcohol use.

The survey found that the more severe the mental illness diagnosis, the greater the percentage of substance abuse. For example, 31 percent of those with serious mental illness used illicit drugs, followed by 27 percent for moderate and 21 percent with mild diagnoses, compared to 12 percent with no diagnosed mental illness. It is difficult to say, however, whether or not if these same substance abusers would be diagnosed with mental illness if they were not under the influence of the drugs.

Overall, 42 percent of the 19 million adults who had a substance use disorder in the past year also had a co-occurring mental illness, whereas only 18 percent were diagnosed with any form of mental illness who did not have a substance use disorder. Turned round the other way, 17 percent of those diagnosed with a mental disorder also met the criteria for substance abuse dependence or abuse, while only 6 percent did for those with no mental diagnosis.

While these numbers certainly are not conclusive of the theories regarding which comes first or how they should be treated, they do paint a clear picture of the fact that mental illness and substance abuse are common traits among each other. When seeking a rehab center for substance abuse, find out if they also treat co-occurring disorders and if so, what are their treatment methods. Hopefully finding the least invasive therapies will work and the more severe treatments will not be needed.

More Treatment & Detox Articles

The Business of Opium in Afghanistan: Drug Addiction

Afghanistan supplies virtually all of the world’s illegal opium. Last year, the country’s drug trade was a $4-billion business, half of which alone was produced in the south where the fighting against the Taliban insurgency is the fiercest. Getting Afghanistan to rid itself of poppy is a pillar of U.S. policy there, because the Taliban….

Continue reading

Hawaii near top for alcohol abuse

A survey finds the state has the lowest number of residents with an illegal drug dependency Hawaii has one of the nation’s highest rates of alcohol addiction but ranks as the state with the least drug dependence, according to a federal government survey released yesterday. More than four out of 100 people over 12 years….

Continue reading

Who Engages in Prescription Drug Abuse?

prescription drug addiction

The epidemic of prescription drug use is a serious one. Most people that abuse prescription drugs are doing so without a doctor’s approval. They are using their medication in other ways other than prescribed by a doctor. Some may also be getting it from someone else. This can lead to drug dependence and addiction. According….

Continue reading

Easier transplant rules for alcoholics

Alcoholics who do not show they can stay sober outside hospital are expected to be offered liver transplants for the first time next month. A group of experts in liver disease will propose the change despite a shortage of organs. Under current guidelines, candidates for new livers have to show they can abstain from drink,….

Continue reading

Cabbie reveals binge-drinking nightmare

Adelaide cabbie Avel Aretas reveals in this graphic account our city’s binge drinking nightmare: Adelaide is the Festival City, but there is one event we should not be proud of – the Adelaide Binge Drinking Festival. It is held every Friday and Saturday night and doesn’t discriminate, involving everyone from 12-year-olds to 60-year-olds, from the….

Continue reading