Battling Addiction and Integrated Primary Healthcare

Taking care of yourself when you are battling addiction can be a challenge. When you think about the most important things in your life, is your health one of them? Sometimes it is easier to take care of other people before yourself, and it is important to take some time to listen to what your body is telling you. For those who do take time for their health, is getting help a hassle?

Battling Addiction and Mental Disorders

People with mental and substance abuse disorders may 1die decades earlier than the average person. Most of these deaths occur from illnesses that can be prevented. The most likely causes are diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity. These can be aggravated by poor health habits that are made worse when they aren’t being watched closely by a medical provider.

Not only can finding access to medical care can be challenging, finding access to a mental health provider can be even harder.

256.5% of adults with mental illness received no past year treatment
220.1% for those seeking treatment continue to report unmet treatment needs. That is why systems are being put in place to offer integrated primary health care to cover a wide array of needs that cannot be met by seeing just one caregiver.

Integrated primary healthcare combines primary health care and mental health care in the same setting. Integrated care provides many benefits to patients but also to the physicians as well. It combines the knowledge of mental health providers with the expertise of primary care physicians. This creates a team-based approach for battling addiction where mental health care and general medical care are offered to patients. Coordinating primary care and mental health care can help address the physical health problems of people with serious mental illnesses in a convenient way.

While many people regularly see a primary care physician, it is less common for someone to see a behavioral health specialist. However, treating the whole person and their physical and behavioral health is essential for positive health outcomes and cost-effective care. Many people may not have access to mental health care or not realize how beneficial it can be, especially while in recovery. Although most primary care providers can treat mental disorders, particularly through medication, that may not be enough for some patients. Combining mental health services and expertise with primary care can provide a well-rounded approach to recovery, cut down the cost of seeing two caregivers, and ultimately, save lives.

Integrated care is a positive way to deal with the division in the American healthcare system through a team approach. The guiding principle here is that every person should be able to receive mental health and substance use care regardless of how and where the person enters the healthcare system. Understanding that mental health is absolutely key to overall health is incredibly important for establishing a healthcare system that treats mental illnesses with the same urgency and respect as it treats physical illnesses.

1 https://www.integration.samhsa.gov/about-us/what-is-integrated-care
2 http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/issues/mental-health-america-access-care-data

SHARE THIS POST