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Substance Abuse and Mental Disorders Research Papers

Research papers on substance abuse and mental disorders have interesting facts to report regarding the incidence of the two conditions. Paper Masters will custom write on this topic and direct your research any way you prefer.

The rate of substance abuse in people with severe mental disorders is substantially greater that in the general population. While substance abuse occurs at a rate of 16% for the general population, it is 29% for individuals with a psychiatric disorder. A study by the Epidemiologic Catchment Area (ECA) showed the following:

  • 53% of people who have a longtime diagnosis of drug abuse also have a lifetime diagnosis of a mental illness.
  • Nearly 2/3 of people who abuse cocaine or opiates have at some point in their lives have had a mental illness.
  • Of those people with a lifetime diagnosis of a mental illness, 15% have abused drugs .
  • Substance Abuse and Mental DisordersDrug abuse was found to occur in 28% to 47% of schizophrenics and 42% of people with antisocial personality disorder.
  • Individuals with bi-polar disorder were more than five times more like to also have a substance abuse problem.
  • People with personality disorders in particular seem to be at significant increased risk of having a substance abuse problem.
  • It is estimated that 30 to 75% of cocaine users have a personality disorder.
  • The most commonly reported personality disorders associated with substance abuse are antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder.
  • Rates of alcoholism in antisocial personality disorder range from 15 to 50% and in borderline personality disorder ranges are from 13 to 18% .
  • Adolescents and young adults (15 to 24 years old) seem to be at greater risk as well. Adolescence with substance abuse problems have a greater risk of having psychiatric disorders than other age groups.

The co-existence of mental illness and substance abuse is believed to increase people’s difficulty in life functioning. Nearly 20% of homeless individuals are diagnosed with both a mental illness and substance abuse disorder. Further, once homeless, individuals with co-existing mental illness and substance abuse disorders are more likely to remain homeless than other groups of homeless individuals. Other adverse consequences of associated with having both a psychiatric disorder and substance abuse problem include increased hospitalizations, non-compliances with treatment guidelines, and greater risk of contracting HIV infection.

Despite the dismal statistics and treatment outcomes, studies into the understanding and treatment of mental illness in conjunction with substance abuse are all fairly new. In the past, individuals with both disorders were generally treated by one system or another, thus ignoring the at least one of the problems. Further compounding the problem, treatment facilities often failed to accurately diagnose the alternate problem or they were ill equipped to treat it. So while treatment outcomes for people with both substance abuse problems and a mental illness were poor, part of the problem was related to ineffective treatment. Over the last few years, new treatment strategies have been recommended. The results of the new strategies are encouraging despite few studies.

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