Monday, December 6, 2010

Mental Disorders Affecting Americans

by Kristina Derro

A recent study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) revealed that more than 45 million Americans, or 20 percent of U.S. adults, had some form of a mental disorder last year. Of those individuals, 11 million suffered from a serious mental disorder to include bipolar or schizophrenia.

This rate included an increase in the finding of depression among adults. Researchers attributed this to the near-record rise in unemployment rates and financial struggles that most Americans had.

SAMHSA found that too many individuals were not getting the help that they needed and the opportunities to prevent a mental disorder, or intervene early when one was already diagnosed, were being missed. Unfortunately, researchers found that there was still a stigma associated with acknowledging and receiving help/counseling for a mental disorder. Compounding the problem was the fact that with the rise in unemployment what naturally follows is the loss of health insurance, leaving many individuals unable to receive treatment. This lack of treatment for individuals with mental disorders could lead to disability, substance abuse, suicides, lost productivity at work, and family discord.

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