Individuals who have both a mental and substance use disorder at the same time are more likely to experience poor psychological health, use more health services and report unmet needs than a person with only one type of disorder.
This study uses the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey—Mental Health to examine the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, health status and health care service use of people with concurrent disorders. The study estimates that 282,000, or 1.2% of Canadians aged 15 to 64, experienced mental and substance use disorders concurrently in the previous year, that is, at least one mood/anxiety disorder and at least one substance use disorder.
Almost all (91%) of those with concurrent disorders reported high psychological distress, significantly more than those with a mood/anxiety (79%) or a substance use (34%) disorder alone.
Overall, individuals with concurrent disorders were more likely (76%) to use health services, such as care for mental health or substance use, compared with those who had a mood/anxiety (67%) or substance use (21%) disorder alone. Despite higher use, these individuals had greater odds of reporting unmet or partially met needs for mental health care after controlling for demographic and socio-economic factors and number of chronic conditions.