Friday, 13 February 2015

Mental Health Disorders May Shorten Life Span: Study


Researchers find people with psychiatric conditions live an average of 10 fewer years

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Amy Norton

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 11, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- People with mental health conditions such as depression, chronic anxiety and schizophrenia tend to die at younger ages than their peers without psychiatric disorders, a new research review says.

In fact, the researchers estimated that mental health disorders typically rob people of nearly a decade of life, and account for 8 million deaths worldwide each year.

The findings, published online Feb. 11 in JAMA Psychiatry, come from an analysis of over 200 international studies spanning several decades. Researchers said the studies help put the global toll of mental health disorders into perspective.

Although the study found an association between mental health conditions and earlier death, it wasn't designed to prove that the disorders were a direct cause of the early deaths.

When people think of lives lost to mental illness, they might automatically focus on one cause of death -- namely, suicide, said Dr. Mark Olfson, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.

"But studies like this broaden our perspective," said Olfson, who was not involved in the research. "The risk includes deaths from natural causes, and we see higher mortality across a range of mental health disorders."

Schizophrenia and other types of psychoses -- among the most severe forms of mental illness -- carried the highest mortality rates across the studies. But, Olfson noted, conditions such as major depression and anxiety disorders are far more common, and they also appeared to shorten people's lives.

Overall, the analysis found, people with mental health conditions were more than twice as likely to die over roughly 10 years, versus people without the disorders.

Their risk of death from "unnatural causes" -- including suicide and accidents -- was seven times higher. But their odds of dying from physical health conditions were also elevated, by an average of 80 percent, according to the study.

"People with mental health disorders have a high prevalence of chronic medical conditions," said study leader Elizabeth Walker, a researcher at the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health in Atlanta.

source : Mental Health Disorders May Shorten Life Span: Study

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