How Common Is Mental Illness?

It is vital to understand how common mental illness is so people who struggle with it will know they are not alone. Additionally, when one understands the prevalence of mental health issues, it may prompt them to advocate for more awareness of (and treatment for) such disorders.

More often than not, mental illness and substance abuse go hand in hand. If a loved one has a substance use disorder or a mental health disorder, it can be beneficial to understand how the two interact. When an individual is educated about the recovery process and the elements of the situation a loved one experiences, it can lead to more compassion and make them a better support system for that person.

Understanding Mental Illness

Before diving into the statistics on mental illness, understand that mental health issues encompass a wide range of medical conditions. Some mental illnesses can affect an individual's behavior, moods, and thinking. They can even lead to more risky illnesses such as schizophrenia or substance use disorders if left untreated. In some cases, they can affect all elements of daily living such as relationships, work, and everyday household chores.

Mental illness becomes a bigger concern when the symptoms and signs are more frequent, and they cause an individual to experience heightened levels of stress and difficulty functioning on a day-to-day basis. Some of the signs of such a scenario can include the following:

  • misreading social situations
  • extreme mood fluctuations
  • extreme fears and confusion
  • suicidal thoughts and behaviors
  • hostility 
  • fatigue

For anyone who experiences any of these signs of a mental illness, seeking help from a medical professional is advised. Leaving a mental illness untreated can lead to severe problems down the road. Some loved ones might be nervous about opening up the discussion about a mental illness with someone who struggles. It is important to remember to offer encouragement and support and speak with a professional to get advice on approaching the topic.

Latest Statistics on Mental Illness in the United States

In the medical industry, there is plenty of research that shows mental illnesses are a problem all across the United States. The reality of the statistics shows that mental health concerns are a common challenge many people struggle with. Sadly, only a few of the people who make up those numbers find means to get treatment or have guidance to get the proper support to help with mental illness and substance use.

According to SAMHSA, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness in the United States each year. Furthermore, when an individual's mental illness gets left untreated, it can lead to risky situations, such as suicide. 

Suicide is a leading cause of death for individuals between 10 and 34. Sadly, one out of every eight individuals who struggle with mental illness will see the inside of an emergency room due to their condition or actions that the condition causes.

While these numbers can be frightening, there is hope. Seeing these statistics, other individuals who struggle with mental illness can see that they are not alone, and there are people out there who understand what they are dealing with. Those people can set themselves on the right side of the statistics by seeking help. There are many addiction recovery and mental health treatment facilities out there ready to give help to anyone who asks for it.

Why Is Substance Use So Prevalent in Mental Health Statistics?

Mental illnesses are often influenced by environmental or genetic factors. For some, their struggle may be caused by, worsened by, or lead to substance abuse, which causes neural network changes. While there are plenty of other causes of mental illness, some individuals are more prone to cope with the pain and the difficulties through substance abuse.

When an individual struggles with substance use and has a co-occurring mental disorder, the results are far more challenging and overwhelming. The increased risks in a person suffering from both can be long-term, and without treatment can lead to life-altering scenarios. The world needs more awareness of both risks and harmful effects when combined. Additionally, the complications and the consequences are harder to treat if left unattended.

How to Reach Out for Help and Educate Yourself About Recovery and Mental Illness

Friends and family members play a vital element in loved ones' recovery. Whether they are struggling with mental illness, substance use disorder, or both, helping them get treatment as soon as possible is essential. Taking the proper steps to prevent a loved one from reaching a dangerous point requires love and dedication.

There are ways to discuss mental illnesses or substance use and become educated further before discussing it with someone struggling. One way is to discuss the topic with a professional at an addiction recovery center. They can help people identify warning signs and give tips on how to best approach the subject with someone who needs help.

Mental illness and substance abuse are both very prevalent in today's society. When you understand more about the journey of mental illness when combined with substance use, you can learn how to best guide your loved one and prevent stressful situations or harm. At NorthStar Transitions, we want to help you and your loved one take control of the stress caused by mental illness or substance use disorder. We take mental illness very seriously, and we want to help you identify the warning signs to get help as soon as possible. Most mental health conditions are treatable, especially if you act early to get help. The best course of action for you as a family member is to take care of yourself and speak with an addiction recovery specialist on how you can help your loved one today. For more information on the commonality of mental illnesses or substance use treatment options, reach out to us today at (303) 558-6400.

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