Exploring Comorbid Substance Use And Mental Illness

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Exploring Comorbid Substance Use and Mental Illness Sarah L. Alford Kennesaw State University Exploring Comorbid Substance Use and Mental Illness There is a wealth of literature about the relationship between substance use and mental illness. Bahorik, Newhill, and Eack (2013) reported that individuals who have a mental illness have a higher prevalence rate of substance use than individuals who do not have a mental illness. Fluery, Grenier, Bamvita, Perreault, and Caron (2014) cite that at least one half of people who develop a substance abuse problem report being diagnosed with a co-occuring mental disorder. There is an abundance of information in the field that provides support for the assertion that there are high rates of comorbidity, which leads into the question of why the two constructs are often found together. Specific factors such as demographics, types of mental illness and motivation for engaging in substance use are considered. Ratnasingham et al. (2013) conducted a study in Ontario on the burden of mental illness and found that the burden of living with comorbid substance use and mental illness increases the risk of early mortality and decreases overall quality of life, so much so that the consequence of living with each ailment is greater than the consequences of the four most common types of cancer and all other infectious diseases. The primary motivation for substance abuse is to cope with psychological distress or negative emotions stemming from
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