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Basic Facts You Should Know About “Substance Use” and Mental “Disorder”


“Data from past studies suggest that people with mood or anxiety disorders are twice as likely to suffer from a substance use disorder compared to the general population. Of the 8.4 million U.S. adults that have both a mental and substance use disorder, 53.7% receive no treatment at all.

In this study, 9,142 people diagnosed with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or bipolar disorder with psychotic features, and 10,195 matched controls were enrolled. The Diagnostic Interview for Psychosis and Affective Disorder (DI-PAD) was also used for all participants to determine substance use rates.

Study results showed that compared to the general population, people with severe mental illness were:

  • 4 times more likely to be heavy alcohol users (>4 drinks/day)
  • 3.5 times more likely to use marijuana regularly (21 times/year)
  • 4.6 times more likely to use other drugs >10 times in their lives
  • 5.1 times more likely to be daily smokers

Also, certain protective factors, such as belonging to a certain racial or ethnic group or being female, did not exist in participants with severe mental illness.

These findings emphasize the need to improve the understanding of the relationship between substance use and psychotic disorders so that both conditions can be treated effectively.

For more information call (301) 443-1124…”  (MPR news, received by email, January 6, 2014, reporting on a NIDA (National Institute [for the study of] Drug Abuse) study….)

My comments: everybody knows already that alcoholics and mentally ill people smoke cigarettes without exception.  The reported rate of cigarette use in the whole adult population is about 25%; I say reported because people have begun to lie and say they don’t smoke because of social pressure.  With an increase of five times, that’s, well, about 90% of mentally ill people smoke.

There’s no solution to this problem if it is considered in isolation; only intensive treatment of mental illness will have any effect on the rate of substance use.  In fact, we may consider the equation in reverse and say that about 25% of adults smoke because about 25% of adults are mentally ill or alcoholic.

Prohibition has already been shown to everyone’s satisfaction to be counterproductive as applied to alcohol (and cigarettes.)  The problem now is that prohibition of “hard” drug (illicit drug) use has not been shown to be counterproductive to the satisfaction of the most powerful members of the federal government, that is, the DEA, the FBI, the NSA, and Homeland Security.  All the evidence collected by scientific observers has pointed to the conclusion that it is counterproductive to outlaw the use of drugs; unfortunately, popular opinion has not followed scientific conclusions.

So, herewith is another cry in the wilderness: please stop the “War on Drugs” and use the money saved for treatment of mental illness.  The only way to get this to work is to find suitable alternative employment for the army of federal and state anti-drug soldiers and administrators, because they really need something constructive to do.  The answer is to re-purpose all these people into the treatment of mental illness; if half of the affected people are not receiving any treatment, then there is a tremendous need that can be filled with former anti-drug soldiers.

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