Addiction, Mental Illness Lead to Millions of ER Visits

Patients with addiction or mental-health related problems accounted for 12.5 percent of all hospital emergency-room visits by adults in 2007, according to a report from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The Los Angeles Times reported July 9 that 12 million ER visits annually were caused by addictions or mental illness; of these, 66 percent involved mental-health problems, 25 percent involved alcohol or other drug abuse, and 9 percent involved both. The hospitalization rate for these patients were 41 percent, more than 2.5 times the rate for other patients.

The most common causes of addiction and mental-health admissions to emergency departments were mood disorders, anxiety disorders, alcohol disorders, drug disorders, schizophrenia and other psychoses, and intentional self-harm.

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