Depression as deadly as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day?

People with mental health problems in Britain have the same life expectancy as the general population in North Korea and Bangladesh.

“Many causes of mental health problems also have physical consequences and mental illness worsens the prognosis of a range of physical illnesses, especially heart disease, diabetes and cancer”
Dr. Seena Fazel, department of psychiatry at Oxford University, May 2014.

“People with mental health problems are among the most vulnerable in society.  This work emphasizes how crucial it is that they have access to appropriate health care and advice, which is not always the case.  We now have strong evidence that mental illness is just as threatening to life expectancy as other public health threats such as smoking”
Dr. John Williams, head of neuroscience and mental health at the Wellcome Trust, May 2014.

Oxford University researchers recently calculated that:

  1. Smoking 20 cigarettes a day reduces life expectancy by 8-10 years
  2. Drug and alcohol abuse removes between nine and 24 years
  3. People with bipolar disorder have a reduced life expectancy of 9-20 years, 10-20 years for schizophrenia and 7- 11 years for recurrent depression
  4. This makes mental health problems including anorexia and recurrent depression as deadly as smoking
  5. 25% of people in the U.K. will experience some kind of mental health problem every 12 months

Study on data from 20 different papers on over 1.7 million people as published in the journal World Psychiatry and funded by the Wellcome Trust.  As reported by The Daily Telegraph, The Independent and The National Post on May 22, 2014.

Posted: Saturday 31 May 2014