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443.405.1095 Catonsville | 301.868.0849 PG County

Substance Abuse

People with mental health disorders are more likely than people without mental health disorders to experience an alcohol or substance use disorder.

  • An estimated 17.3 million Americans over the age of 12 reported living with an alcohol use disorder in 2013, and about 6.9 million Americans in the same age group reported past year abuse of illicit drugs and/or addiction in a SAMHSA survey.
  • SAMHSA says that an estimated 8.9 million Americans are living with co-occurring disorders. However, they also report that fewer than 7.5 percent of these people enroll in a comprehensive treatment program that can effectively address those disorders each year.

Co-occurring disorders can be difficult to diagnose due to the complexity of symptoms, as both may vary in severity. In many cases, people receive treatment for one disorder while the other disorder remains untreated. This may occur because both mental and substance use disorders can have biological, psychological, and social components. Other reasons may be inadequate provider training or screening, an overlap of symptoms, or that other health issues need to be addressed first. In any case, the consequences of undiagnosed, untreated, or undertreated co-occurring disorders can lead to a higher likelihood of experiencing homelessness, incarceration, medical illnesses, suicide, or even early death.

People with co-occurring disorders are best served through integrated treatment. With integrated treatment, practitioners can address mental and substance use disorders at the same time, often lowering costs and creating better outcomes. Increasing awareness and building capacity in service systems are important in helping identify and treat co-occurring disorders. Early detection and treatment can improve treatment outcomes and the quality of life for those who need these services.

The definitions for the different levels of drinking include the following:

  • Moderate Drinking—According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, moderate drinking is up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men.
  • Binge Drinking—SAMHSA defines binge drinking as drinking 5 or more alcoholic drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that produces blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) of greater than 0.08 g/dL. This usually occurs after 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men over a 2 hour period.
  • Heavy Drinking—SAMHSA defines heavy drinking as drinking 5 or more drinks on the same occasion on each of 5 or more days in the past 30 days.

Excessive drinking can put you at risk of developing an alcohol use disorder in addition to other health and safety problems. Genetics have also been shown to be a risk factor for the development of an AUD. To be diagnosed with an AUD, individuals must meet certain diagnostic criteria. Some of these criteria include problems controlling intake of alcohol, continued use of alcohol despite problems resulting from drinking, development of a tolerance, drinking that leads to risky situations, or the development of withdrawal symptoms. The severity of an AUD—mild, moderate, or severe—is based on the number of criteria met.

If you suspect that you or a family member has a problem call for an appointment today in Baltimore 443.405.1095 or PG County 301.868.0849

Call us: (443) 405-1095 or ( 301) 868-0849

Are you ready to take that step to a better & healthier self?