Mental Health Disorders Bigger Global Problem Than Cancer, Heart Disease

A World Health Organization study estimates that one in three adults suffers from a mental health issue, which leads to a higher incidence of addiction, too.

We’ve been saying it for a while now: Mental health issues and addiction often go hand in hand. And even for those who don’t turn to drug addiction or alcohol addiction, the problem is still sizeable. We hear so much about heart disease and cancer, but in 2008 the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that brain disorders accounted for about 13 percent of the global disease burden, a greater percentage than both cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

The World Mental Health Survey, published in 2008 and covering 28 countries, estimated that one in three adults suffers from a mental disorder including bipolar, depression, PTSD, anxiety and many others. That’s a staggering number. And a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, pulled together data from surveys to reveal that 6.8 percent of adults had moderate to severe depression.

The new report is an update on a 2005 paper that estimated that 27 percent of the European Union population was affected by mental disorders each year. The higher figure resulted from the addition of 14 previously excluded disorders, many of which affect children and the elderly, meaning that the frequency of mental disorders has probably not gone up substantially.

Still, the numbers are so high that we don’t have to see a huge increase to become alarmed. With so many suffering from mental health issues, there is a high incidence of self-medicating, with alcohol, prescription meds or illegal drugs. Individuals don’t get treatment for their symptoms or don’t feel it’s working so they turn to other methods to feel better. Before long, they have an addiction to deal with as well as their underlying mental health issues. In the treatment world, this is called dual diagnosis, and a high percentage of those entering substance abuse treatment arrive with these co-occurring disorders.

For decades, the stigma surrounding mental disorders has kept some from seeking treatment and pushed others to keep their treatment secret. That shame can also contribute to addiction. Fortunately, in recent years the stigma has lessened and increasing education will continue to help sufferers feel like they don’t need to hide their diagnosis.

Mental Health Disorders Bigger Global Problem Than Cancer, Heart Disease

Dual Diagnosis Treatment at The Oaks at La Paloma

If you or someone you love is in need of dual diagnosis treatment or other help, call The Oaks at La Paloma at our toll-free number. Someone is there to take your call 24 hours a day and answer any questions you have about dual diagnosis treatment, financing or insurance.

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