Addiction in the Hospital: How to Reduce the Re-admission Rate

Last Updated: April 11, 2023

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Many hospital patients have co-occurring mental health or substance use disorders. As Americans deal with widespread substance use disorders throughout the nation, this situation becomes ever more likely.

Seeking addiction treatment is a crucial step toward achieving and maintaining sobriety. But if underlying mental health issues are not addressed simultaneously, the odds of recurrence of use can increase.

Many people with both a substance use and mental health disorder experience extended hospital stays as a result. Such stays are often necessary during acute crises to protect patients from harm. Some patients later have to be readmitted to the hospital as a result of recurring issues that were not properly addressed prior to their initial discharge.

How Do Mental Health and Substance Abuse Relate to One Another?

Many people who experience an addiction also develop a mental health disorder at some point. Similarly, some people who deal with a mental health disorder may develop an addiction to drugs or alcohol. These conditions may exacerbate each other.

Both the addiction and mental health issue come with their own specific symptoms that can interfere with various parts of a patient’s life. When a mental health problem goes undiagnosed and untreated, the substance use disorder typically worsens.

Dealing with one situation while ignoring the other can reduce the effectiveness of treatment and increase the odds of hospital readmittance in the future.

By dealing with co-occurring disorders prior to discharging patients, readmissions may be effectively reduced. Not only does this improve the chances of patients experiencing long-term sobriety and good mental health, but it can also reduce the burden placed on medical facilities and health care costs.

Addiction treatment for patients is both a challenge and an expensive endeavor for hospitals. Many hospitals are simply not equipped to deal with both substance misuse issues and mental health problems at the same time, despite the prevalence of co-occurring disorders.

According to a study published in the American Psychiatric Association’s journal Psychiatric Services, readmission rates for patients with addiction can be as high as 26 percent. Additionally, over 40 percent of hospital stays for a physical health issue in 2014 also involved co-occurring mental disorder or an addiction.

When physical health conditions, mental health conditions and substance use disorders occur at the same time, they may complicate treatment and may even encourage the progression of the disorders.

In addition to treating mental health issues and substance use disorders concurrently, it is also important to follow up with a patient who has been released from the hospital following treatment. Simply including a follow-up procedure as part of the treatment of patients with a co-occurring disorder can reduce the risk of behavioral health readmission.

If you deal with addiction and an underlying mental health issue, there are centers available that can help you address both issues successfully. Contact Orlando Recovery Center today for help.