Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Alcohol Dependence Linked to Mental Illness Severity

 Adults with mental illness are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependency than adults without mental illness, according to a new study. It also showed that the rate of alcohol dependency increases as the severity of the mental illness increases. The report, by the federal government's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), found that while 7.9 percent of those with mild mental illness were alcohol dependent, 10 percent of those with moderate mental illness  were alchol dependent, as were 13.2 percent of those with serious mental illness.

"Co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders are to be expected, not considered the exception," said SAMHSA Director Pamela Hyde, J.D., commenting on the study's findings. "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." For more on alcohol dependency and its treatment, see Psychiatric News at http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/content/46/7/16.1.full and http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/content/45/6/10.2.full.