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#220152 - 05/23/14 12:57 PM Study Compares Mental Illness to Smoking...
Anne Holmes Administrator Offline
Boomer in Chief

Registered: 03/11/10
Posts: 2768
Loc: Illinois
Just read a fascinating article which says that mental disorders can reduce life expectancy by 10 to 20 years, as much as or even more than smoking over 20 cigarettes a day.

This study looked at data on 1.7 million patients, drawing from 20 recent scientific reviews and studies from mostly wealthy countries.

It found that the mortality risk for women with was more than seven times higher than that of a heavy smoker. People with substance abuse disorders and anorexia had higher mortality rates than smokers as well. And while chain smokers generally die eight to 10 years earlier than nonsmokers, schizophrenia can shave off up to 20 years.

The report was published Thursday in the journal World Psychiatry. I heard about it on NPR and you can read more about it here.
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#220154 - 05/23/14 03:19 PM Re: Study Compares Mental Illness to Smoking... [Re: Anne Holmes]
Eagle Heart Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 4860
Loc: Canada
Wow, what an interesting study! I wonder if they were shocked at the findings. I would never have thought that mental illness could shorten one's lifespan that significantly (aside from the suicide factor).

As many know, I suffered from depression my entire life, from the time I was about 12 (maybe even as early as 8) until very recently...and I still have to watch triggers because I've noticed lately that I can still spiral into a dark place if I don't manage myself well and consistently.

So I know what it has been like to live with mental illness. And I know that it does take a toll on other parts of the body, via stress and prolonged severe anxiety...but perhaps the primary toll, in my own experience, stems from my reluctance to go see the doctor. After years and years of experiencing the temptation on the doctors' part to just brush everything off as being yet another symptom of depression, why bother?!

Four years ago, it took me several appointments over several months to get my doctor to take some very troublesome symptoms seriously. Honestly, she poohed them away as being menopause complicated by my old nemesis of chronic fatigue (which had often left me bedridden for weeks at a time - which in hindsight, according to two other doctors I've spoken with about it since, should have been thoroughly investigated at the time, but never was taken beyond a few blood tests, which DID show disturbing anomalies in my white blood count). Anyway, finally my husband came into the doctor's office with me and insisted that the doctor do more. She clearly reluctantly sent me to a gynocologist...cancer. It was cancer. Thankfully, because I had been so in tune with my body and so insistent that it wasn't normal menopause (and with my hubby's support), we caught it early enough that the full hysterectomy got rid of it, no need for chemo or radiation, thank God!!!

The point is, relative to this thread, is that before then, and since then, I DO feel very stigmatized BY MY OWN DOCTOR when it comes to my own healthcare now. She continues to want to see every little thing as just part-and-parcel of that same old depression (which I don't think I even suffer from anymore, since the hysterectomy!)

Anyway, I can fully understand why people with mental illness are more reluctant to seek medical help...fear of the same attitudes over and over again. We get labelled as hypochondriacs and hysterical. I can't tell you how many times I've ended up seriously ill because of this attitude and inability on the doctor's part to see beyond the mental illness.

I know this was a long post.


Edited by Eagle Heart (05/23/14 03:24 PM)
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When you don't like a thing, change it.
If you can't change it, change the way you think about it.

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#220155 - 05/23/14 09:37 PM Re: Study Compares Mental Illness to Smoking... [Re: Eagle Heart]
yonuh Offline
Member

Registered: 06/14/06
Posts: 2379
Loc: Arizona
I haven't read the actual study so can't say whether it's valid or not. I tend to be highly suspicious of scientific study reviews because the reviews don't always look at the actual methodology of those studies but only the results. The studies themselves could have been flawed, which would make the reported results also flawed.
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#220156 - 05/23/14 09:40 PM Re: Study Compares Mental Illness to Smoking... [Re: Eagle Heart]
yonuh Offline
Member

Registered: 06/14/06
Posts: 2379
Loc: Arizona
There is still a lot of stigma attached to mental illness, especially where women are involved. It's hard to fight that 'hysteria' label that Freud made so popular. And too often people suffering from depression are told to just get over it. Depression can cause all sorts of physical symptoms that doctors can't diagnose as anything, so it becomes 'all in your head' and not real. But I can tell you from working as a psychiatric nurse for a lot of years that it is real.
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#220157 - 05/24/14 09:52 PM Re: Study Compares Mental Illness to Smoking... [Re: yonuh]
Anne Holmes Administrator Offline
Boomer in Chief

Registered: 03/11/10
Posts: 2768
Loc: Illinois
I was shocked at the findings, too, Eagle Heart. My step-father's mother suffered from schizophrenia and my mother from depression.

I understand what you're saying Yonuh about not having read the study, but I did think the source for the article -- NPR (national public radio) -- was a trusted source. And the journal itself World Psychiatry is the Official Journal of the World Psychiatric Association. If you want to want to read the source article, it is online here.

Anne
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#220204 - 06/08/14 07:05 PM Re: Study Compares Mental Illness to Smoking... [Re: Anne Holmes]
orchid Offline


Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 3649
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
Eagleheart, is there anyway to switch to another family doctor? Or does the Ottawa have a shortage of family doctors.

Yea, attitudes that are hard to shake about mental illness/depression.
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