Mental Health Depression Anxiety and Medical Health linked Phoenix, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Arizona

Mental Health disorders and medical health are often linked together. Patients with diabetes and heart disease have twice the rate of anxiety as well as twice the rate of depression. This in turn makes it difficult to lose weight and make other healthful life changes. One in twenty five patients that go to their PCP doctor have a diagnosis of mental health. The most common mental health diagnosis at the physicians office is : depression, anxiety, and substance abuse according to JAMA.

Many Primary care practitioners refer patients to a mental health practitioner however ,only 4  out of ten follow through in contacting the specialist in counseling and therapy for mental health. So sixty percent of mental health referrals do not ever seek treatment. Many will take medication however that is not counseling.

Mental Health Important to Overall Health( From US MEDICINE 2009, April issue Below)

Mental illnesses have a major impact on overall health. A 2006 study found that people with severe mental illnesses die, on average, 25 years earlier than the general population. “They are not dying of their mental health disorders and they are not dying of their addiction disorders, but they are dying of other kinds of chronic diseases. The early mortality is really linked to a lack of focus or negligence of their physical health disorders.” Dr. Huang said.

The role that mental health plays in causing poorer outcomes with co-existing conditions should be considered by the medical establishment. Dr. Huang pointed to one study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology on women with cardiovascular disease that found that depression was associated with 15 percent to 53 percent increases in 5-year cardiovascular expenditures compared to nondepressed women with cardiovascular disease. The study concluded that these results “reinforce the importance of assessing depression in clinical populations and support the hypothesis that improved management of depression in women with suspected myocardial ischemia could reduce medical costs.”

Integrating Mental Heath and Substance Abuse into Primary Care

Dr. Huang said that one of the problems when it comes to drug and mental health disorders is that while there is treatment available, many people do not seek it.

In a 2007 SAMHSA study, 24.3 million adults age 18 or older experienced serious psychological distress but only about 44.6 percent of these received mental health services. Among adolescents who needed treatment for alcohol use, the percentage who received treatment at a specialty facility fluctuated between 5.9 and 8.1 percent from 2002 through 2007, according to SAMHSA.

“One of the reasons I am doing detail at CDC from SAMHSA is when we look at this treatment gap that has persisted over the years, we don’t seem to be closing the treatment gap. We thought, ‘okay we need to figure out how to move more upstream. How do we get more into the prevention arena for mental health and addiction disorders?’We know that they are preventable and treatable,” Dr. Huang said.

Because substance abuse disorders and mental health have an impact on the trajectory of other chronic health illnesses, one question is whether a substance abuse assessment should a part of a primary care assessment.

“When we think about when people go for primary care, is assessment of substance abuse a part of that examination? Should it be a part of that when we know there is a high rate of prevalence of these disorders and a high rate of co-occurrence and that they actually interfere with the positive outcomes for those other disorders?” Dr. Huang said.

Dr. Huang said that federal offi cials are looking more at the importance of incorporating mental health and drug addiction services in primary care settings, and vice versa, as a way of making sure that people receive treatment.

“How do you take care of both the physical and behavioral aspects? We are looking at this conceptual framework for not just putting behavioral health care or mental health and addictions in to primary care, but also when would it is necessary to put physical and primary care health services into, say, community mental health services? That hasn’t been done traditionally. We have seen more of the other way, where we see more into primary care and actually we are really two separate healthcare delivery systems,” Dr. Huang said.

Dr. Perou said that it is important to think about how primary care and public health approaches can be linked with mental health and substance abuse help.

“We need to have a much more comprehensive system of care and we have that opportunity now with health care reform. Mental health is essential to overall health. We need to keep saying that message and making sure that everybody knows that,” she concluded.

Almost 70 percent of visits to a medical doctor are due to stress related symptoms. end( US Medicine, April, 2009)

Research shows that counseling and therapy are vital in conjunction with taking prescription medications for best outcomes and results. Lifeworks AZ in Phoenix,AZ work with client’s so they can empower themselves and reach life goals.

Articles are not to be taken as a substitute for professional advice or counseling.