Low Income Associated with Increased Risk of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness

By Staff Writer

Low income individuals and those who recently had that their salaries decreased may be at a greater risk of suffering from a number of mental illnesses, including substance abuse, and may be more likely to require the services of drug rehab and mental health facilities, according to a new study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

After surveying nearly 35,000 individuals twice over the course of a three-year period, researchers from the University of Manitoba found that participants with an annual household income of below $20,000 per year were likely to suffer from mood, anxiety and substance abuse disorders and were more likely to attempt suicide.

Additionally, when household income dropped during the course of the study, the risk of developing a mental disorder increased significantly, regardless of whether the reduction put participants in the low-income category.

The researchers said that previous studies of the potential link between low income levels and mental disturbance have been mostly inconclusive. However, their findings offer a clear picture that could be useful when considering public health policies.