The much awaited report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) for the year 2016 has arrived. It indicates that 8.2 million adults (3.4 percent of all adults) had a comorbid condition of any mental illness (AMI) such as depression and anxiety, and substance use disorder (SUD) in the past year. The report also indicates that 2.6 million adults aged 18 or older had a serious mental illness (SMI) along with SUD.
Unfortunately, of the 8.2 million afflicted with both the disorders, only 48.1 percent received treatment for either substance abuse at a specialty facility or for mental health in the past year. Only a miniscule, 6.9 percent, received treatment for both the conditions. Half of those with both AMI and SUD did not receive either type of treatment due to a multitude of reasons.
Among those who had a comorbid SMI and SUD in the past year, 65.6 percent received either substance use treatment at a specialized center or mental health care in the past year. In other words, “about 1 in 3 adults with co-occurring SMI and an SUD did not receive either type of care in the past year.”
The report further paints a grim picture of prevalence of co-occurring disorders in individuals aged 26-49 and 50 or older and how most of them sought health care facilities for one condition only.
Dual diagnosis is as common in women as in men. In the case of women, the chances of them developing a mental disorder are high. This is because they go through several transitions in their life — puberty, pregnancy, menopause and motherhood — which makes them susceptible to increased stress and poor mental health.
Some of them fall into the dark abyss of anxiety and depression, and as a coping mechanism, find solace in drugs or alcohol. Since mental illnesses and addictions are stigmatized, it prevents them from sharing their problems and seeking appropriate treatment. Instead of going to a rehabilitation center that caters specifically to the needs of women and offers customized therapeutic plans, women are more likely to go to a general physician or live with a belief that time will heal everything. Since most physicians are not qualified to deal with mental health problems, they end up prescribing pills that treat the condition only superficially. As the real condition remains untreated or worsens, women, often, end up developing further addictions as a means to overcome their problems.
Similarly, women who begin substance use in the early stages of life, are at an increased risk of suffering from panic attacks, paranoia, excessive anxiety and related disorders as they grow older. Continued use can cause irreversible alterations in the brain, which further leads to changes in behavior and mood that starts interfering with daily life. While men take drugs under peer influence, women are more likely to do drugs at the insistence of their partners, spouses and boyfriends besides due to socio-environmental conditions.
Dealing with a co-occurring disorder is challenging as the therapist needs to correctly identify and treat both the conditions rather than treating either one in isolation. Partners and families play a critical role by extending support in such times. At the same time, health care facilities for women need to take into consideration the underlying factors that lead to such a condition and provide treatment accordingly.
Sovereign Health of Arizona is a women’s-only residential rehabilitation center located in Chandler, Arizona. The programs are based on the philosophy that recognizes patients’ unique circumstances by providing them with personalized treatment plans tailored to their specific treatment needs.
Sovereign Health’s dual diagnosis treatment facilities in Arizona provides its female patients with state-of-the-art care in a safe and supportive environment for long-lasting recovery. If you have any questions regarding residential treatment programs for dual diagnosis, you can call the 24/7 helpline or contact our admissions staff via online chat.