Mental illness and addiction: Facts

Mental illnesses affect millions of people in the USA every year. Even though there’s a wide spectrum of mental problems which range from minor disorders to severe problems, it’s of paramount importance to detect the kind of mental illness a person is suffering from so as to find the correct treatment as soon as possible and see how common they are.

Patients with a mental illness shouldn’t be stigmatized, they’re not alone. There plenty of tools to help them out to overcome physical, social, and financial difficulties that come along with any kind of mental impairment. Also, many people have experienced at least once in a lifetime neurological imbalance due to physical or emotional distress. For more information about psychiatry, there’s plenty of websites online about this topic.

Mental problems are also closely related to addictions. Both terms make reference to an array of disorders affecting the correct functioning of the brain, body, and behaviour.  These disorders are mainly rooted in distress and brain impairment.

It’s highly likely to suffer from any mental disease and at the same time drug or alcohol addiction. Struggling with both problems is known as dual diagnosis.

Dual diagnosis is a severe health problem since the person experiences symptoms from both mental disease and addiction. What’s worse, each of these affections affects one another. However, no matter what a person is experiencing, mental health problems and substance addiction are quite common and can be treated with support and willingness.

Common facts

You are not alone

  • It’s estimated that 50% of people who suffer any mental health condition are also affected by substance abuse.
  • In the USA, there were 20.2 million adults who abused any kind of substance in 2014.
  • Whereas, in the same country, 7.9 million of them also had another mental health disorder.
  • Of those who suffered from a substance abuse disorder and mental illness, more than half were men.
  • In Canada and the USA, for instance, 1 out of 5 people experience mental disorders per year.
  • In the same country, at the age of 40 many people have had or actually have a mental problem.

People mostly affected by a mental problem

  • According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, almost 70% of children and adolescents have their first onset.
  • Whereas in the USA just 16.5% of the youth experienced mental health disorders in 2016.
  • In Canada, almost 34% of high school students suffer from moderate to severe mental distress being the most popular anxiety and depression.
  • In the USA, it’s estimated that people may spend 11 years from their first onset symptoms and the treatment to mental disorders.
  • People with the lowest income are highly likely to suffer from distress rather than people with higher incomes.
  • People with mental disorders have more chances of substance abuse in comparison with people who don’t suffer from distress.
  • In the same way, it happens the other way round. Those who abuse any substance such as drugs, tobacco, or alcohol have a high chance of having a mental illness.

Mortality rates

  • In the USA, suicide is considered the most severe mental illness since it’s the second leading cause of death in the country.
  • Those who suffer from a mental disease and substance abuse have higher risks of dying prematurely.
  • People with mental illnesses cut their life expectancy by at least 10 to 20 years.
  • As regards substance abuse, tobacco is considered the leading cause of mortality in Canada.
  • It’s estimated that people who are gay, lesbian, or bisexual have 4 more times of chances of attempting with their lives. 
  • In the USA, it’s a fact that 90% of people who commit suicide have mental disorders.
  • Generally speaking, 75% of people who die by suicide are male.
  • Having depression increases the chances of a coronary heart attack.

Common mental health problems

  • It’s believed that 18% of American adults have experienced anxiety disorders. Whereas in the world, there are at least 300 million people who have faced depression and anxiety problems.
  • 50% of adults with depression are also diagnosed with anxiety. Whereas 75% of children show symptoms of both mental conditions.
  • Bipolar disorder is the most common mood disorder in the USA.
  • A personality disorder is the second mood disorder in the USA affecting more women than men. Almost 75% of women with mental diseases are diagnosed with a personality disorder.
  • Eating disorders are the leading cause of mental health conditions. It’s estimated that in the USA 30 million people are diagnosed with this condition.
  • Psychotic disorders affect at least 3% of adults in the USA. Whereas just 1% of people are diagnosed with schizophrenia.
  • 50% of those who have schizophrenia also have another mental health condition.


  • Mental health treatments are not accessible to everyone.
  • 1 out of 5 people who suffer from a mental problem doesn’t have medical insurance so they don’t have access to medical treatment.
  • As regards children with mental distress, 75% of them don’t have access to medical treatment.
  • It’s estimated that just half of the mental health patients in Canada receive adequate medical service.
  • In the USA, 11,3% of adults suffering from a mental disorder don’t have medical insurance so as to have access to proper medical treatment.

According to facts and statistics, mental health disorders are more common than people think. Many have experienced mental health episodes at least once in a lifetime. Having a relative or friend with mental problems and substance abuse may be a challenge. However, they’re not alone.

There are many places to find counseling and the right guidance. It’s of paramount importance not to stigmatize nor consider mental health problems as taboo and seek help if you are no longer in control of it. Talking about mental problems will prevent them becomes severe or the person commits suicide.



Categories: Health

Nicolas Desjardins

Hello everyone, I am the main writer for SIND Canada. I've been writing articles for more than 12 years and I like sharing my knowledge. I'm currently writing for many websites and newspapers. I always keep myself very informed to give you the best information. All my years as a computer scientist made me become an incredible researcher. You can contact me on our forum or by email at [email protected].