A new study by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse reports there is a strong connection between addiction and mental illness.

It is called concurrent disorders; the medical term for when a person suffers from mental illness and substance abuse at the same time.

The study found that 50 per cent of people being treated for an addiction also have a mental illness. It also reports 20 per cent of mental illness patients live with an addiction.

"As I learned more and more about depression and bipolar, I started to have the understanding that I was living with this from 10 or 11 years old. And that I was coping with my addiction," said Claude Lurette.

Lurette is bipolar and was treated for the disorder and alcoholism the traditional way – separately.

Researchers say physicians should, instead, be looking at treating the two illnesses at the same time.

"In the educational programs we need to ensure that this level of knowledge that exists is there for the mental health field and is there for the addiction field," said Rita Notarandrea, deputy Chief Executive Officer with the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.

The Royal Ottawa Hospital runs a program that treats both disorders simultaneously.

With a report from CTV's Catherine Lathem