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Mental Illness Shortens Life Expectancy By Up to 20 Years

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Did you know that if you have or know someone with a mental illness, chances are life expectancy is shortened by 10 to 20 years? This recent finding states that mental illness, more than the incidence of smoking, causes premature death. If you smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day, you are likely to out-live a person with a mental disorder.

The risks of smoking are heart and lung diseases as well as other physiological issues. However, mental illness risk is the potential to commit suicide; this risk is highly likely and outweighs the risks of smoking. “Researches looked at data on 1.7 million patients, drawing from 20 recent scientific reviews and studies from mostly wealthy countries. Comparing the effects of mental illness and smoking helps put the stats in context.” This review was useful in benchmarking against something with a high mortality rate. www.wbur.org It is interesting that the study found that women with postpartum depression were seven times more likely to commit suicide than that of a heavy smoker. Substance abusers as well as those with anorexia had a higher mortality rate than smokers, too.

At-risk behaviors and suicide are clearly involved, but other factors may also be at play. Mental disorders can take a toll on an individual’s physical health and depression worsen a person’s prognosis in various illnesses. A person with a mental disorder is less likely to seek the advice of a physician and still be unable to manage their own physical and mental health.

According to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) mental illness is common in Ohio.
• Of Ohio’s approximately 11.5 million residents, close to 418,000 adults live with serious mental illness and about 124,000 children live with serious mental health conditions.
• Untreated mental illness has deadly and costly consequences
• In 2006, 1325 Ohioans died by suicide.
• Suicide is almost always the result of untreated or undertreated mental illness.
• Nationally, we lose one life to suicide
www.nami.org

Getting help and proper treatment for mental disorder is a start toward extending your life expectancy and ensuring a proper quality of life.

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