Having a Severe Mental Illness Means Dying Young

People diagnosed with serious mental illness — schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or severe depression — die 20 years early, on average, because of a combination of lousy medical care, smoking, lack of exercise, complications of medication, suicide, and accidents. They are the most discriminated-against and neglected group in the U.S., which has become probably the worst place in the developed world to be mentally ill.

In many previous blog posts I have bemoaned the shameful state of psychiatric care and housing for people with severe mental illness. My conclusion was that the United States has become the worst place, and now the worst time ever, to have a severe mental illness. Hundreds of thousands of the severely ill languish inappropriately in prisons. Additional hundreds of thousands are homeless on the street.

But it gets worse. Having a severe mental illness also means that you will probably die very young. I have asked Dr. Peter Weiden to explain why, and to suggest what we should do about it. He is a professor of psychiatry at the University of Illinois College of Medicine and has spent his professional career working on improving outcomes and reducing side effects and complications for people with serious —> Read More Here


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