Global Burden of Disease Study

Mental Health and Addictive Disorders Causing Global Burden

Treatment for mental health and addictive disorders is now more pertinent than ever.

According to the recently published Global Burden of Disease Study, alcoholism, addiction and other mental health and substance abuse disorders are the number one cause of non-fatal illnesses in the world. This means that addiction and mental health cause more illness than even diabetes, cancer or HIV/AIDS.

The study’s co-leader, Louisa Degenhardt asserted that the findings “clearly show that illicit drug use is an important contributor to the global disease burden, and we now have the first global picture of this cause of health loss.” And the study was indeed global, as it looked at 187 countries and 20 mental health and substance abuse disorders and their overall impact on public health. They found that mental health and addictive disorders were responsible for nearly 23 percent of the entire disease burden worldwide – with the worst affected countries being the US and UK.

The study also showed that heroin caused the greatest health burden of all illegal drugs – as more than two-thirds of those who were dependent on drugs were young men aged 20 to 29 with 70 percent  dependent on opioids and cocaine.

Another leader of the study, Harvey Whiteford, gave insight that, “Despite the personal and economic costs, treatment rates for people with mental and substance use disorders are low, and even in developed countries, treatment is typically provided many years after the disorder begins.”

This is very much in line with what we see here at Synergy Group Services. Many of our clients come in for heroin addiction treatment or dual diagnosis treatment after having lived through several years of active addiction. Although we wish interventions had occurred sooner, we are able to successfully treat mental health and substance abuse disorders to help addicts remain clean and sober – no matter how far down the scale they have gone. We hope we are doing our part to reduce the disease burden in our corner of the globe – at our Florida drug rehab and dual diagnosis treatment center.

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