Substance Abuse Rates Far Higher in Those With Mental Illness, Report Finds

A new government report finds that rates of substance abuse are far higher in people with mental illness. The report found that one in five adults in the United States—nearly 50 million people—experienced mental illness in the past year, according to Reuters.

Adults with any mental illness in the past year were more than three times as likely to have met the criteria for substance dependence or abuse compared with those without mental illness (20 percent versus 6.1 percent). People with serious mental illness in the past year had a rate of substance dependence or abuse of 25.2 percent.

The report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found teenagers who experienced a major depressive episode in the past year had about twice the rate of illicit drug use compared with teens who had not experienced depression—37.2 percent versus 17.8 percent.

Mental illness was more common among women, and among people ages 18 to 25, SAMHSA noted in a news release. The report found five percent of American adults had experienced a serious mental illness in the past year.

The findings come from a survey of 67,500 people ages 12 and up.

    User Picture

    Howard Josepher

    January 20, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    If someone self medicates habitually, it is in response to an already existing mental illness or condition. Certainly the condition will worsen by taking illicit medications because the behavior makes the person a criminal. Some conditions may worsen with prescribed medications. A diagnosis of a co-occuring disorder can be made.

Leave a Comment

Please leave a comment below to contribute to the discussion. If you have a specific question, please contact a Parent Specialist, who will provide you with one-on-one help.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *