Friday, July 22, 2011

People With Serious Mental Illness Have Shorter Life Expectancy

Andy Dean Photography/Shutterstock
Certain mental illnesses can cut patients' lives tragically shorter. A Danish analysis of life expectancy among people with serious mental illness found that life expectancy was 18.7 years shorter for men with schizophrenia than men in the general population. The corresponding number for women with schizophrenia was 16.3 years; for men with bipolar disorder, 13.6 years; and for women with bipolar disorder, 12.1 years. Researchers also found that excess mortality from physical diseases and medical conditions was much more likely to influence life expectancy than was death from external causes.

“Life Expectancy Among Persons With Schizophrenia or Bipolar Disorder” was published online in Schizophrenia Research (July 7, 2011). In recent years, there have been increasing calls for psychiatrists to more actively monitor the general medical health of their patients with serious mental illness. See Psychiatric News, http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/content/43/21/2.full.

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