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The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently issued a publication called Behavioral Health, United States, 2012. The report provides in-depth information regarding the current status of the mental health and substance abuse field. It includes behavioral health statistics at the national and State levels from 40 different data sources.
According to the publication, there are more than 41 million adults in America who are dealing with some form of mental illness, which includes nearly 19 million battling substance abuse or dependence.
Findings include that 7.3 percent of adults with private health insurance had substance abuse problems, and 8.7 percent of the people who are working full time. Those with publicly-funded coverage and either no job or only part-time employment showed higher rates of alcohol and drug problems. Some might wonder whether being employed full time and having insurance coverage lowers the risk of developing alcohol or drug-lated problems, or if the disorders hamper the ability to gain employment. There are actually examples of both.
One of the biggest clues to this may have to do with age and maturity levels, as the younger adults had higher rates of substance abuse and dependency. Studies have shown that people can display symptoms of disorders early on and then seem to grow out of it as their responsibility levels in life increase. This seems to contradict the notion of addiction being an incurable disease. Is it actually possible to treat people individually rather than labeling all of them? Yes.
While working toward having better coverage for behavioral health and wanting to provide insurance plans for more people are huge steps in the right direction for overall health, Perhaps a portion of that money should be used for job training and social education as prevention measures as well.
In addition to assessment figures such as those above, each category in Behavioral Health, United States, 2012 is broken down even more and the report also examines the treatment landscape, which we will look into more in later posts.