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SAMHSA report on mental illness and chronic physical disease (USA)

April 20, 2012

A new study released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reveals that mental health issues and physical health issues are linked. The report, “Physical Health Conditions among Adults with Mental Illnesses” used data from SAMHSA’s 2008-2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).

The report showed that people who are 18 years and over, who had any type of mental illness, major depressive episodes or serious mental illness in a one year period, are at higher risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, cardiovascular disease, or have a stroke, than those not experiencing mental illness.

Some key findings:

  • 21.9 per cent of people experiencing any mental illness in the past year had high blood pressure, compared to 18.3 per cent of adults who have not experienced any mental illness
  • 15.7 per cent of people experiencing any mental illness in the past year had asthma, compared to 10.6 per cent of adults who had not experienced any mental illness
  • People who experienced a serious mental illness (i.e. a mental illness resulting in severe functional impairment substantially interfering with one or more major life activities) in the past year were more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, and stroke than adults without serious mental illnesses
  • People who experienced serious mental illness in the past year were more likely to use emergency departments (47.6 per cent) than adults without serious mental illness (30.5 per cent)
  • People who experienced serious mental illness were more likely to have been hospitalized (20.4 per cent) than those without serious mental illness (11.6 per cent)

For more information go to www.samhsa.gov.

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