Mental health disorders may shorten life span

According to studies, people with depression, chronic anxiety issues such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia tend to die younger than those without psychiatric disorders. When people think of lives lost to mental illness, they might automatically focus on one cause of death ‑ namely, suicide.

Schizophrenia and other types of psychoses are among the most severe forms of mental illness ‑ carried the highest mortality rates, but disorders such as anxiety and major depression are more common. They all appear to shorten people’s lives by nearly a decade, adding up to 8 million deaths worldwide each year.

People with mental health conditions are more likely to die over 10 years early as compared to people without 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 per cent, according to the study.

People suffering from mental health disorders have a high prevalence of chronic medical conditions. They often have difficulty managing those conditions -- whether of poor diet, lack of exercise, trouble sticking with medications, or problems getting the health care they need.

It has been found that the mortality gap between people with and without mental disorders has grown over time. Healthier lifestyle habits could be part of that in the general population. Whatever the specific reasons people with psychiatric conditions are not seeing the same physical health improvements as the overall population. There's no simple solution to this. It's going to take multiple approaches.

One approach is to make sure that people with psychiatric disorders have access to all the types of health care they need.