About 10-M American Adults Suffer From Mental Illness
A new US government report reveals that about 10-M American adults have a serious mental illness, and a similar number have considered suicide during the past year, according the report the nation’s behavioral ills.
The report also said that 15.7-M Americans abuse alcohol and 7.7-M abuse illicit drugs.
The nation’s growing opioid epidemic was also a focus in the report.
The researchers found that 12.5-M people are estimated to have misused prescription painkillers such as oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet) or hydrocodone (Vicoprofen).
Despite the growing number of Americans with mental health problems, about 33% of those who need help are not getting it, said researcher Dr. Beth Han, of the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality at the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
“These are real increases,” Dr. Han said. The reasons people are not getting the help they need are varied. They include not having health insurance and not knowing where to go for help, she said.
Dr. Han believes that stigma continues to play a part in why people with mental health problems don’t seek help. “They are afraid that other people may find out,” she said.
Among teens, marijuana use has gone down slightly, from nearly 8% in Y 2011 to 7% in Y 2015, though with more states legalizing its use, more people continue to accept the drug as safe and discount its potential harms, the researchers said.
“For teens, marijuana is a substitute for other behaviors like binge drinking,” said Dr. Scott Krakower, the assistant unit chief of psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y.
Often, substance abuse is driven by other mental problems such as depression or bipolar disorder, Dr. Krakower said. These mental problems may also be a product of the substance abuse, he said.
Mental illness is a growing problem among adolescents. As 3-M teens from 12 to 17 had major depression in Y 2015. The problem is particularly acute among girls, the researchers found.
Among adults, 9.8% Americans reported having serious thoughts about suicide in the past year. This continued an upward trend that started in Y 2012. In Y 2011, 9-M adults reported thoughts of suicide, Dr. Han said.
These numbers are rising along with the opioid epidemic, she said.
In addition, 9.8-M adults have a serious mental illness. That number has remained about the same since Y 2011, Dr. Han said.
Despite this, only about 67% of those who need it are getting treatment for mental health problems.
“The country needs to figure out a better model so people get the mental health care they need,” he said.
The Rx (prescription) drug abuse epidemic continues, Dr. Han said.
Many of these people get their drugs from a friend or relative or from a Doctor, the researchers said.
People without health insurance were nearly 2X as likely to have misused a Rx painkiller as those with insurance in the past year, according to the report.
In Y 2015, more than 1-M Americans were being treated for substance abuse.
From Y’s 2011 to 2015, the number of people receiving medication-assisted therapy, mostly methadone, as part of a narcotic treatment program has increased about 16%.
The findings are published in the Behavioral Health Barometer — United States, 2016, which was released 12 June by SAMHSA.
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