Note: The following is from a Press release from PacifiCare (so take it with a grain of salt)

Study Finds Mental Health Patients With Substance Abuse Problems Twice As Likely To Drop Out Of Treatment Programs

VAN NUYS, Calif., March 28 -- Mental health care patients with a substance abuse problem were found to be almost twice as likely to drop out of outpatient mental health treatment as patients who did not have a co- existing substance abuse problem. This was the conclusion reached in a study conducted by PacifiCare Behavioral Health, Inc. The sample for this study was comprised of 702 patients receiving outpatient psychotherapy who were diagnosed with either a depressive, adjustment or anxiety disorder; the most common of mental health disorders.

According to study director, Patrick Smith, M.A., of PacifiCare Behavioral Health, "A substance abuse problem can mimic, mask, or aggravate various mental health disorders. We conducted this study to support our policy that a patient's substance abuse problem must be addressed before any substantial progress can be made in the treatment of existing mental health disorders."

Smith added, "Many mental health therapists tend not to refer patients to programs that specialize in the treatment of substance abuse. Providers may try to deal with mental health and substance abuse issues simultaneously. The findings of this study suggest that patients with a substance abuse problem do not respond as well to outpatient treatment approaches as do those patients without a co-existing substance abuse problem."

The most significant difference between the two groups on the selected outcome variables was in the likelihood of dropping out of treatment. The researchers concluded that a high rate of treatment drop-out may be a reflection of what is typically referred to as "denial" among patients with substance abuse problems. The tendency to minimize or deny the existence of problems, a typical behavioral reaction of people with substance abuse issues, may contribute to the premature termination of treatment.

SOURCE PacifiCare Behavioral Health, Inc. Internet Advocates generate publicity for treating, not jailing people w/NBD

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