People With Mental Illness Risk Problem Drinking

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A new U.S. government report finds that adults who suffer with mental illness are four times more prone to alcohol dependence compared to those without such conditions.

The report, released Thursday by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), was based on a 2009 nationwide survey. It found that nearly 10 percent of adults diagnosed with a mental illness were also alcohol-dependent, compared to just 2.2 percent of those without such issues.

The rate of alcohol dependence also rose alongside the severity of mental illness, the report said.

“Mental and substance use disorders often go hand in hand. This SAMHSA study adds to the evidence of that connection,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in an agency news release.

“Co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders are to be expected, not considered the exception,” she added. “Unfortunately, signs and symptoms of these behavioral health conditions are often missed by individuals, their friends and family members and unnoticed by health professionals. The results can be devastating and costly to our society.”

U.S. News & World Report Health
http://health.usnews.com/health-news/managing-your-healthcare/articles/2011/06/03/health-highlights-june-3-2011

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