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Treatment of Common Mental Disorders in the United States: Results From the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions-III

J Clin Psychiatry 2019;80(3):18m12532
10.4088/JCP.18m12532

Objective: This study analyzed past 12-month disorder-specific mental health treatment patterns of common DSM-5 disorders in the United States.

Methods: Nationally representative face-to-face household survey data from structured diagnostic interviews of the 2012–2013 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions-III (NESARC-III) (n = 36,309) were used to estimate percentages of respondents with 12-month DSM-5 mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders who received disorder-specific treatment during the 12 months before the interview.

Results: The percentage receiving treatment was highest for mood disorders (37.8%; 95% CI, 36.1%–39.6%), followed by anxiety disorders (24.1%; 95% CI, 22.6%–25.6%), and lowest for substance use disorders (18.8%; 95% CI, 17.8%–19.8%). Among anxiety disorders, panic disorder (47.9%; 95% CI, 43.9%–52.0%) had the highest treatment rate, and among substance use disorders, tobacco use disorder (20.3%; 95% CI, 19.0%–21.7%) had the highest treatment rate. Adults with mood and anxiety disorders (53.1%; 95% CI, 49.7%–56.4%) were more likely than those with only mood (32.0%; 95% CI, 29.5%–34.6%) or only anxiety (13.2%; 95% CI, 11.6%–15.0%) disorders to receive any mental health treatment. Lack of insurance coverage was associated with significantly lower odds of treatment for all disorders except specific phobia (0.55; 95% CI, 0.30–1.03), drug use disorders other than tobacco (0.80; 95% CI, 0.47–1.36), and alcohol use disorder (1.52; 95% CI, 1.12–2.07).

Conclusions: Most adults with common mental disorders in the United States were not treated for their disorders, and treatment rates varied considerably across disorders and sociodemographic groups, with particularly low rates of treatment for substance use disorders. Policy and clinical interventions are needed to promote greater access to treatment of adults with common substance use, anxiety, and mood disorders.