10 million American adults plagued by mental illness

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10 million American adults plagued by mental illness

Mental illness does not discriminate. It can affect anybody, no matter which nation they may be residing in and no matter how developed it may be. There are close to 10 million adults in the United States who live with a serious mental illness, and an equal number of them tried to commit suicide during the past year, revealed a recent government report talking about the country’s behavioral ills.

It is not just mental health issues, the nation is also in the grip of a rampant substance use disorder (SUD). The report says that 15.7 million people in the U.S. abuse alcohol and 7.7 million do illicit drugs. When mental illness co-exists with a substance use disorder, the plot only thickens.

The report, which primarily focused on the country’s opioid epidemic, also unearthed that 12.5 million people in the country had misused prescription painkillers that include oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet) or hydrocodone (Vicoprofen).

Majority of patients not receiving adequate treatment

According to Dr. Beth Han, a researcher at the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), majority of patients with mental illnesses do not receive treatment. “Despite the growing number of Americans with mental health problems, about a third of those who need help aren’t getting it,” said Dr. Beth.

People refrain from going for treatment for addiction for a variety of reasons, such as not possessing any health insurance and lack of information about places of treatment, said Han. The stigma associated with mental illness is still a major reason for people shying away from getting help at the earliest. It is only when symptoms get out of control that people seek treatment. It is a great fear in them that others may find out about their psychological problems.

Substance abuse, which is a major public health issue in the country, is often driven by an underlying mental health condition like depression, bipolar disorder, and other similar conditions. On the other hand, mental health issues may also be a product of a substance use disorder. In short, mental illness and substance abuse disorder are intrinsically linked.

Mental illness is a burgeoning problem among adolescents. The researchers found that almost 3 million U.S. teens had major depression in 2016. The girls are more affected as compared to boys, say experts.

Mental problem by numbers

The researchers stumbled upon a few perturbing facts on mental illness during the study. In 2011, 2 million teens had depression and the figure increased to 3 million in 2015, said Han. Almost 908 million adults in the U.S. reportedly contemplated suicide in the past year. This upward trend started in 2012 because according to Han, in 2011, close to 9 million reportedly had suicidal thoughts.

The numbers are growing in tandem with the opioid epidemic, which is compounding the problem. It is high time that the nation comes out with a better model so that people get adequate mental health treatment, and no section of the society remains deprived of any treatment.

Dealing with mental health condition

It is not the end of the road for people troubled by mental illnesses. Treatment is available for all mental conditions and symptoms can be managed with timely intervention. Sovereign Health is a leading behavioral health treatment provider in the U.S. with centers spanning across the country.

Call our 24/7 helpline number or chat online to know more about our intensive outpatient program for mental health. One can also check our intensive outpatient drug and alcohol treatment, which is one of the best in the country.



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