Researchers from Duke University recently announced their findings in a study regarding the diagnosis and treatment of teenagers with mental disorders. Their study concluded that less than half of adolescents with psychiatric disorders receive any kind of recognized treatment for them.
They noted that the results were not equitable across the board, such as indicating there were higher treatment rates for certain disorders or among specific populations. However, when compared with other studies cross-examining the connection of maladies such as social anxiety disorder and marijuana use, there are clues to being able to prevent some comorbidity by effectively treating the earlier issue.
Another indication of the problem is that even when some form of treatment does occur it is usually with people who are not considered mental health specialists. This may be fine for many young people, as there are innumerable forms of therapy that can have positive benefits, but the conclusions of the study suggested that these front line people should have additional training on how to address the issues.
What this data suggests to some is that the incidence rate of dual diagnosis of a substance abuse disorder and one or more other mental health disorders could be drastically reduced, especially since the two often feed off each other. Drug use creates more behavioral health problems, and untreated people frequently seek refuge in the form of chemical substances.
This is yet another form of intervention that can occur in the broader sense of the concept. Intervention, treatment and prevention are all necessary parts of the continuum of care.
The study referenced here was conducted based on data from the National Comorbidity Survey Adolescent Supplement consisting of more than 10,000 young people between the ages of 13 and 17. The research was supported by grants from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).