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Am J Addict. 2015 Jun;24(4):299-307. doi: 10.1111/ajad.12225. Epub 2015 Apr 29.

Alcohol and other substance use, mental health treatment use, and perceived unmet treatment need: Comparison between baby boomers and older adults.

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1
University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work, 1925 San Jacinto Blvd, D3500, Austin, Texas, 78712.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE:

As the baby boomers age, the number of older adults with comorbid substance use and mental disorders is projected to grow. Little research has examined the potential impact of substance use on older adults' mental health treatment use and unmet treatment need. This study examined these associations among the rapidly growing population of baby boomers and their older counterparts.

METHODS:

Data are from the 2008 to 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) (Nā€‰=ā€‰18,443 respondents aged 50-64 and 11,191 aged 65ā€‰+). Age-combined and age-stratified logistic regression analyses were used to examine relationships between alcohol, illicit drug, and tobacco use and mental health problems, treatment use, and perceived unmet treatment need, with sociodemographic characteristics and health status as covariates.

RESULTS:

Heavy alcohol, illicit drug, and tobacco use increased the odds of having a mental health problem in both age groups. Compared to those who used alcohol on 1-99 days during the preceding year, lifetime abstainers had significantly lower odds of having received mental health treatment in both age groups. Poorer self-rated health and past-year mental health treatment use increased the odds of perceived unmet treatment need in both age groups, while lifetime abstention in the boomers decreased the odds.

CONCLUSIONS AND SCIENTIFIC SIGNIFICANCE:

This study's key finding is the lower likelihood of mental health treatment use among lifetime abstainers in both age groups. Further research may identify barriers to treatment use and ways to promote use among both age groups.

PMID:
25923291
DOI:
10.1111/ajad.12225
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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