Research finds that mental health disorders may reduce lifespan
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06-01-15 Category: Mental Health


A recent study review has determined those with certain mental health conditions tend to die earlier than those who do not suffer from them. This includes those with mood disorders such as anxiety and depression, as well as psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. The findings were published in the medical journal JAMA Psychiatry, demonstrating that such conditions may shorten the lifespan by about 10 years and are responsible for millions of deaths annually. More than 200 worldwide studies with decades of research were compiled and evaluated to draw these conclusions.

While schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders were shown to have the highest rates of mortality, having anxiety or depression was also shown to significantly reduce a lifespan. Within one decade, those with mental health conditions were shown to be more than twice as likely to die earlier, as opposed to healthier individuals. The group was also shown to be seven times more likely to die from circumstances such as accidents and suicide.

Those with a mental health disorder were also shown to have much greater odds of physical impairments and often had difficulties managing these symptoms including improper exercise and unbalanced diets. Bad habits such as smoking are less prevalent than before, but are still common among those with mental health disorders.


Studies have demonstrated there tends to be a greater gap in life expectancy for males with a mental health disorder than females in that same group. An especially truncated life expectancy has been shown for those who are mentally unhealthy and dealing with alcoholism and substance abuse.

Another study has shown that a health disorder can be more detrimental to one’s livelihood than smoking cigarettes. A heavy smoker can reduce their lifespan by 8 to 10 years while schizophrenia can reduce life expectancy by 10 to 20 years and bipolar disorder can cut off nine to 20 years of life. Such findings demonstrate just how significant it is to offer the best treatment possible for patients with health conditions.

In the case of Alzheimer’s disease, those with the condition may expect to live anywhere from three years to 20 years beyond diagnosis. However, the usual expectancy will be between eight to 10 years. However, it should be noted this condition is often not diagnosed when signs first begin appearing. A diagnosis most often occurs about three years from disease onset.

There are also increased risks that may occur due to a person being isolated and not experiencing the health benefits of socialization. Isolation will also increase the odds of others not being aware the person has a health disorder. This will in turn delay the sufferer from receiving treatment, which subsequently may also hasten one’s demise.

Due to the increased odds of an early death caused by mental illness, it is essential that those with such disorders have all appropriate health care options available to them, especially since this demographic is often more likely to be unemployed or homeless. One solution to this may be more integrated care in the industry. Integrated care aims to incorporate both elements of general health care and behavioral healthcare. By incorporating treatment for substance abuse as well, more effective recovery is possible for those with a dual diagnosis. Such care will increase the likelihood of a patient being able to gain a full recovery.

Sovereign Health of California offers specialized mental health, substance abuse and dual diagnosis disorder treatments for those in need. To learn more about our treatment programs, call (866) 819-0427 to speak to a member of our team and get started on the path of health and happiness today.

Written by Sovereign Health writer, Ryan McMaster

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