In some cases, the mental illness may lead to the substance abuse, as individuals turn to drugs or alcohol to mask the symptoms of their illness. Other times, abuse of substances could trigger the mental illness or make a current condition worse. It is important to understand the relationship between a person’s mental health and a substance abuse disorder, often referred to as a co-occurring disorder, since treatment will be needed for both conditions to ensure the best odds of a successful recovery.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), people that have been diagnosed with a mental illness at some point in their lives are responsible for the following consumption statistics:

  • 69 percent of the alcohol used
  • 68 percent of cigarettes used
  • 84 percent of cocaine used

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) estimates that in 2012, approximately 9.6 million Americans over the age of 18 suffered from a serious mental illness. That same year, around 23.1 million Americans over the age of 12 required treatment for a substance use disorder. The numbers show that both mental illness and substance use disorders are prevalent problems in this country. In fact, SAMHSA also estimates that by the year 2020, mental and substance abuse disorders will be the top cause of disability across the globe, surpassing all other types of physical maladies.

Treating Mental Health and Substance Abuse

The combination of mental illness and a substance use disorder complicates treatment of both conditions. The good news is that many addiction treatment facilities now have the training and resources to manage both disorders at the same time.

For those struggling with a co-occurring disorder, it is important to select a treatment center that is experienced in treating those specific disorders. To learn more about mental health and substance abuse, contact Treatment Now.

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