- Substance Abuse and Depression-Higher Rates After COVID - January 24, 2023
- Gender Bias in the Real World - January 10, 2023
- Wellness Goals for the New Year - January 4, 2023
Rates of substance abuse and depression in the U.S. are measured by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) every year. According to the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), we all suffered A LOT from the COVID pandemic and this suffering is showing up in higher rates of drug use and depression.
This may seem pretty basic, but it’s not. As difficult as it is to measure mental health, this report gives us insight into where we are we have been, and also where we are going if nothing changes.
Things were looking kinda sad
Keep in mind that this data was collected in 2021. We were all dealing with a lot, especially women caregivers. Specific findings from the report show rampant substance abuse:
- A lot of people were using drugs. Over 61.2 million people (about 22 % of the national population) used drugs in the past year. The most commonly used drug was marijuana:
Did you know 52.5 million people admitted to using marijuana!
- 9.2 million people 12 and older misused opioids in the past year.
- 46.3 million people aged 12 or older (or 16.5 percent of the population) met the clinical criteria for having a substance use disorder in the past year, including 29.5 million people who were classified as having an alcohol use disorder and 24 million people who were classified as having a drug use disorder.
Major drug use and depressive episodes (MDE) among adolescents
Our young people are in crisis. We have to pay attention because they show us with their behavior more than their words.
- Substance use disorder, including alcohol use and/or drug use disorder, was highest among young adults aged 18 to 25 compared to youth and adults who were 26 and older.
- Nearly half of young adults aged 18 to 25 used drugs in the past year; 1 in 3 young adults 18 to 25 used marijuana in the past year.
- In 2021, 1 in 5 adolescents had a major depressive episode in the past year. Of these, nearly 75 percent had symptoms consistent with “severe impairment,” which made them unable to do chores at home, successfully complete work or school, engage positively with their family, or have an active social life.
Serious thoughts of suicide, suicide plans, and suicide attempts
- 12.3 million adults aged 18 or older had serious thoughts of suicide in the past year, 3.5 million made suicide plans, and 1.7 million attempted suicide.
- There are cultural risks: Hispanic or Latino adults were more likely than White or Asian adults to have attempted suicide in the past year, and Black adults were more likely than Asian adults to have attempted suicide in the past year.
Lack of treatment
It’s okay to have a problem, but awareness is key to positive change. Unfortunately, according to the report, almost every person with a substance use disorder did not get treatment because they don’t think they needed it:
- Most people suffer without getting treatment; 94% of people aged 12 or older with a substance use disorder did not receive ANY treatment at all.
It will get better
Time tends to heal us and negative experiences pass, even when it doesn’t feel like it at the time.
As we become more aware of substance abuse and depression, we can better help those who can benefit from someone who cares. Recognize the symptoms and don’t be afraid to ask direct questions.
Know that substance abuse disorder and depression are diseases that require treatment to get better. Above all, get help.
Photo credit: Pexels, Kenneth Surillo