Mental Health Disorders May Shorten Life Span

People with psychiatric conditions live an average of 10 fewer years

People with depression, chronic anxiety issues such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia tend to die younger than those without psychiatric disorders, according to new research.

In fact, the researchers estimated that mental health disorders typically rob people of nearly a decade of life. The findings, published online in JAMA Psychiatry, are from an analysis of more than 200 studies across several decades. Schizophrenia and other types of psychoses—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 across the globe each year.

Overall, the analysis found, people with mental health conditions had a risk of death from unnatural causes, including suicide and accidents, that was seven times higher than people without mental health issues. Their chances of dying from physical health conditions were also higher, by an average of 80 percent, according to the researchers.

“People with mental health disorders have a high prevalence of chronic medical conditions,” said study leader Elizabeth Walker, a researcher at the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health in Atlanta. Worse, they often have difficulty managing those conditions for a variety of reasons, including poor diet, lack of exercise, trouble following medication regimens and problems with access to health care.

Experts have long known that physical hea