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Mental health and alcohol and drug addiction

Posted On Wed, August 3, 2011

A recent article published by The New York Times inspects why some people succumb to drug addiction and others don't. The 2008 National Survey of Drug Use and Health found that 46 percent of Americans have used an illegal drug at some point, but only eight percent had used in the month prior to the survey.

These statistics show that the vast majority of people who experiment with drugs don't become addicted, and scientists, physicians and psychologists continue to attempt to understand the risk factors of drug addiction.

The article points to a study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) that found that people with mental health issues are almost three times more likely to become addicted to drugs or alcohol. People with psychiatric illnesses including mood, anxiety and personality disorders are more at risk than the average individual.

The NIMH study showed that 60 percent of people with drug abuse problems also suffer from a mental illness, but it remains unclear whether the drug addiction was a catalyst for the mental illness or the mental illness made the individual predisposed to drug addiction.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there are roughly 79,000 deaths attributed to excessive alcohol consumption each year in the United States. Heavy drinkers may experience increased life insurance rates, as they are seen as more of a risk by insurers.

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