Mental patients have higher death risk but seldom
die from this condition
Approximately 8 million deaths each year, are
attributable to mental disorders
11, 2015 This is one of those cases where a massive study of a large
number of research reports raises more questions than it answers. It
does conclude that people with mental health disorders or two times more
likely to die than those without such disorders. This link between
mental problems and mortality is complicated by the reality that most
people with those disorders do not die of their condition.
Quantifying and understanding mortality among
people with mental health disorders can inform approaches to address the
issue, according to the researchers in explaining why they pursued the
study published online by
Elizabeth Reisinger Walker, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.A.T.,
of Emory University, Atlanta, and coauthors reviewed medical literature
to examine mortality among people with mental health disorders. Their
meta-analysis included 203 articles from 29 countries.
Analysis by the authors indicates that the relative
risk of mortality among those with mental health disorders (from 148
studies) was 2.22 times higher than the comparison population.
But here is the puzzling part:
● 67.3 percent of the deaths among people with mental health
disorders were due to natural causes,
● 17.5 percent to unnatural causes and
● the remainder of the deaths - about 15.2 percent - to
other or unknown causes.
The median (midpoint) of potential life lost was 10
We estimate that 14.3 percent of deaths worldwide,
or approximately 8 million deaths each year, are attributable to mental
disorders, the researchers report.
People with mental disorders experience a high
burden of mortality at the individual and population levels. Reduction
of this burden will require a focus on less prevalent but more severe
diagnoses and more common mental disorders.
Likewise, efforts must be made to prevent and
manage comorbid medical conditions and reduce the occurrence of
unnatural deaths in this vulnerable population, the study concludes.
This study was supported by the National Institutes
of Health/National Institute of General Medical Sciences Institutional
Research and Academic Career Development Award and the National
Institute of Mental Health Award.
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