Out of 95 million visits made to emergency rooms by adults in the U.S. in 2007, 12 million, or 12.5%, had to do with mental disorders, a substance abuse problem, or both. Let’s break down the math:
- Of those 12 million visits, about 66% involved patients with mental disorders,
- About 25% involved patients with substance abuse issues and the rest involved patients who had both a mental disorder and a substance abuse problem;
- Almost 41% of those 12 million visits resulted in the patient being admitted to the hospital,
- which is more than 2.5 times the rate of hospitalizations for other conditions.
- Almost 54% of the mental health/substance abuse-related visits were from women;
- About 47% of the visits were by people age 18 to 44; and,
- About 35% were by people age 45 to 64.
The top five conditions that made up 96% of all the mental health/substance abuse cases were (in order)
- mood disorders,
- anxiety disorders,
- alcohol disorders,
- drug disorders,
- schizophrenia and other psychoses, and
- intentional self-harm.
Note: each and every patient treated in the ER could have multiple diagnoses.
As for how the 12 million visits were billed, 30% went to Medicare, 26% went to private insurers, 20% went to Medicaid and 21% of patients were uninsured. These findings are from a report recently put out by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of the Department of Health and Human Services.