Pax House

Higher Levels of Substance Abuse Linked to Mental Problems


Altadena, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/21/2014 -- the National Institute on Drug Abuse found out that people with mental illness are more prone to be victims of substance abuse. People with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia are more likely to get involved in addiction, especially cigarette smoking, and are not affected by protective measures to lower the rates of substance addiction.

Past studies suggest that people with mental or anxiety disorders are similar with normal people as both have the same incidence of substance abuse. This is based from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted in 2012. The result of the survey shows that about 8.4 million adults in the United States are diagnosed with mental problems and substance use disorder. Out of the 8.4 million, 7.9 percent received treatments and 53.7 percent did not.

According to Dr. Nira D. Volkow, director of NIDA, “Drug use impacts many of the same brain circuits that are disrupted in severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia. While we cannot always prove a connection or causality, we do know that certain mental disorders are risk factors for subsequent substance use disorders, and vice versa.”

The current study uses the Genomic Psychiatry Cohort program to select participants. The study was able to gather 9,142 people suffering from bipolar disorder with psychotic symptoms, schizophrenia, and schizoaffective disorder, and 10,195 controls matched to the participants. The results of the study indicate that people with mental illness are four times more likely to have alcohol addiction and 3.5 times to be marijuana users. Also, these people are 5.1 times to be daily smokers and 4.6 times to try other drugs for at least 10 times in their lives.

This is not associated with gender differences or ethnic relations. According to Dr. Sarah Harts of the University of School of Medicine in St Louis, “In the general population, women have lower substance use rates than men, and Asian-Americans have lower substance use rates than white Americans, but we do not see these differences among people with severe mental illness.”

This recent study only proves the magnitude of substance abuse and why it can continue to rise despite huge efforts from different campaigns. A well-known rehabilitation center, Pax House, is now working cohesively with professionals to lessen the incidence associated with substance abuse and mental disorders.