Mental health and substance abuse is a global problem.
In this post we will discuss how mental health and substance use are intertwined, with a particular focus on the US. We will also show you how to find out if someone is struggling with any of these problems, and what to do about it.
The problem of mental illness has been around for quite some time, but it has recently become a more prominent issue in the media and public policy. The effect of this on our country’s social fabric is an important subject that should be addressed. Here are some basic facts:
Mental illness affects 1 in 5 Americans  . By age 15 (or 17), 1 in 6 adolescents have either a diagnosable mental disorder or impulse control issues  .
While people can have different reasons for their mental illnesses, there is generally one common thread: substance abuse . When we talk about substance abuse and mental illness together, we can talk about everything from alcoholism to drug addiction to bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. For many Americans, substance abuse is simply a label that fits the problem — an easy way out of any problem that gets too difficult or inconvenient to deal with on one’s own (i.e., if you want to deal with your anxiety without drinking too much). But substance abuse isn’t just something that happens when you’re stressed or nervous; as someone who suffers from ADD myself, I know how hard it can be to refrain from using alcohol when I’m anxious or stressed — even though they aren’t physically addictive drugs like alcohol or tobacco…and they certainly don’t diminish your ability to think rationally, creatively, or otherwise accomplish whatever task you’ve set out for yourself…or the ability of your brain to do what it does best: think critically about ideas and things and make decisions .
2. The United States has the highest rate of mental health and substance abuse disorders.
The United States is the most populated nation on Earth, with an estimated population of around 310 million people. The US has a mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) rate of 33 percent. Among those with mental health disorders, the average SUD rate is 14.5 percent, while among those with substance use disorders, the average rate is 15.7 percent.
In addition to its large size, the US also has a large number of people who live in poverty and lack basic necessities such as housing and food. A report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) indicates that one in 10 Americans lives on less than $10 a day for at least part of the year.
The United States also has a long history of discrimination against certain groups: Native Americans have historically been subjected to discrimination by the government and have seen their populations decline by more than 60 percent over the last century; African-Americans have seen their numbers decline by more than 70 percent since 1900; Hispanics have experienced population declines in nearly every region of the country since 1980; and Asian-Americans have experienced similar declines in each consecutive census since 1860.
3. Ten other countries with high rates of mental health and substance abuse disorders.
Substance abuse disorders (SUDs) are treatable and preventable. The prevention of SUDs is in many ways similar to the prevention of alcohol and drug misuse, but there is a vast difference between the two. In both cases, life-threatening consequences can be avoided if people come to their senses. Yet in the case of SUDs, like alcohol and drug misuse disorders, it takes a great deal of willpower and willpower alone cannot prevent these disorders.
In this blog post, I wanted to look at some countries with high rates of substance use disorders (SUDs) as well as high rates of mental health disorders. I chose ten countries that are either in or very close to the top 10 for mental health or substance abuse (3/10), or very close to each other. At least one country was selected for each category (with warnings: please don’t read this post if you have a mental health problem). The data comes from three sources: Google Trends, World Health Organization’s Global Burden of Disease study and WHO’s Mental Health Global Status Report 2010 .
4. The impact of mental health and substance abuse on individuals, families, and society.
Social and geographic boundaries vary, but commonalities abound. In the US, mental health and substance use are a pressing issue.
The following are some of the many ways in which mental health affects individuals, families, and society:
Anxiety is leading to a rise in suicides
Adolescent depression is leading to suicide attempts among youth in the US
Depression has an impact on spouses and family members of suicide victims
Mental health disorders are associated with alcohol misuse and other substance abuse.
Family members of people with mental illness have high rates of psychiatric hospitalizations due to severe episodes of psychosis or bipolar disorder.
Recent findings indicate that depression may contribute positively to the development of psychotic disorders in young children.
People who experience mental illness are at higher risk for developing serious physical illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. Substance use disorders increase this risk by increasing blood pressure and heart rate by increasing stress hormones such as noradrenaline (norepinephrine) through monoamine oxidase inhibitors (SNAs). For example, higher levels of serotonin can be harmful to health when taken as a dietary supplement to treat anxiety or depression. Many medications used for anxiety or depression also contain antihistamines that can increase blood pressure or heart rate when taken together with SNAs or monoamine oxidase inhibitors.
5. The causes of mental health and substance abuse disorders.
A recent study in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health has highlighted some of the reasons why people take drugs and alcohol. From a broader perspective, the research shows that there are a range of mental illnesses which can cause people to engage in risky behaviours, including drug, alcohol and gambling addictions. However, it is also clear that these disorders are very different in their causes. The causes of mental illness can be described as:
1) Depressive illness –
2) Anxiety disorders –
3) Schizophrenia –
4) Bipolar disorder –
5) Borderline personality disorder or other forms of psychosis.
6. The symptoms of mental health and substance abuse disorders.
We all know that there is a huge problem with mental health and substance use disorders in the United States. But we also know that it’s quite different from other countries.
For example, in the Netherlands for example, where drug addiction is treated by a combination of medication and intensive therapy (which usually lasts for several months), the rate of drug addiction is more than one third lower than in the US. In fact, the rate of drug abuse among adults living in the Netherlands is on average less than 2% higher than in the United States.
We have recently discovered that there are many parallels between substance use disorders and mental health disorders with regard to their prevalence and treatment. Often, our research shows that certain symptoms are very similar across all three types of disorders.
This paper aims to show how these similarities can be used to improve understanding of mental health and substance use disorder – as well as reduce stigma around these issues – by exploring similarities between mental health and substance use disorders using data from a large number of countries including the United States, Canada, Australia and other developed countries.
7. The treatment options for mental health and substance abuse disorders.
In the US, for example, the number of people with mental health and substance use disorders is at crisis levels. This should cause us to focus on the most important areas:
• Reducing stigma and discrimination against those with mental health or substance use disorders
• Creating an informed public that understands these disorders
• Increasing access to treatment and care by raising awareness of these disorders as well as their causes
The 10 countries in this section are all very different. Some may have better public awareness than others, but even if they don’t actually have access to treatment, they should be able to implement some form of it. And if people do get access to treatment, then it should be easy enough for them to sustain it (the benefits of treatment are often lost once a person stops taking drugs). These interventions should be universal (allowing people with substance use disorder to live healthy lives without resorting to drugs or alcohol) and portable (able to be used by those who only need a few months of care).
8. The conclusion: Mental health and substance abuse is a global problem that needs to be addressed.
This is the conclusion of a 16-part series on substance use. There are some 10,000 people in the US with a diagnosis of mental illness every day. This is a global problem, but it’s also something that affects us all.
To address this issue, we need to go beyond research and statistics. We need to move beyond hearing that 1 in 5 people will experience mental illness in their lifetime. We also need to move beyond risk factors like poverty and exposure to violence (we’ve written about this a lot).
I’m not talking about “talking down” or demonizing someone who has an addiction problem (and I am not talking about people who self-medicate with drugs or alcohol). But we do come into contact with these issues every day — maybe even more so in today’s world. And we need to make sure that if someone does have a problem it doesn’t become an excuse for inaction, but rather it can be recognized as a possible obstacle for them to overcome.