Mental Illness & Addictions

According to Health Canada and Statistics Canada, Alberta has higher per capita rates of alcohol consumption, and heavy drinking, than the national average. Those seeking help are often using more than one substance, and many of these drug use disorders may be linked to mental illness.

  • In 2012 among Albertans 15 years and older with lifetime mood and/or anxiety disorders (major depressive episode, bipolar I, bipolar II, hypomania), 37.8% also had a lifetime substance use disorder1.
  • The literature suggests that problem gambling is correlated with mood and anxiety disorders, substance use and abuse, impulsivity, risk-taking, and attentional problems, conduct disorder or antisocial personality and neuroticism2.
  • In 2009, almost three quarters of employed Albertans used alcohol, over half gambled and close to a quarter smoked and almost half of the females (44%) and a third (33%) of the males suffered from at least one mental health disorder at some point in their life3.

Research is needed to determine which interventions are the most effective when treating individuals with concurrent disorders, and most importantly, how multiple service providers can work together to provide such interventions.


1 Statistics Canada (2012). Canadian Community Health Survey - Mental Health Component. Custom tabulation conducted by Addiction and Mental Health, Alberta Health Services.

2 Williams RJ, Hann RG, Schopflocher D, West B, McLaughlin P, White N, King K, & Flexhaug T (2015). Quinte Longitudinal Study of Gambling and Problem Gambling. Report prepared for the Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre. Guelph, Ontario. February 20, 2015.

3 The Alberta Survey of Addictive Behaviours and Mental Health in the Workforce: 2009, Institute of Health Economics.