Mental illness shortens lifespan more than smoking

By Amanda Stewart,

A new study has found that poor mental health can affect longevity as much or even more than smoking.

Findings from this study were published in the online journal World Psychiatry.

WebMD notes that serious mental illness can take anywhere between seven and 24 years off of someone’s life, according to the study. That is similar to, and in some cases worse, than smoking.

The authors of the study looked at over 20 papers examining 1.7 million people and 250,000 deaths.

Oxford University researchers found that those will schizophrenia had a shorter life expectancy by 10 to 20 years; bipolar disorder, seven to 11 years; recurrent depression nine to 24 years.

When you think about those numbers and think about the well-known statistic that smoking shortens life expectancy by eight to 10 years it brings up the question of which is more serious. Those who have fallen victim to drug or alcohol abuse shorten their life expectancy somewhere between nine and 24 years.

According to The Daily Mail mental health has not been given nearly as much attention as smoking or drug/alcohol abuse has in the U.S.

Researchers hope this pushes government officials to put a higher priority on mental health.

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