Lower Life Expectancy with Mental Illness

At the NAMI peer-to-peer recovery course I’ve been taking there was a statistic the other day that wasn’t necessarily surprising, but it was shocking.

The statistic is that on average, the life expectancy of people with mental illness is 25 years shorter than the general population.

A couple of the reasons why include:

  • Individuals with mental illness smoke half of all cigarettes produced
  • Increased risk of weight gain and type-2 diabetes with some antipsychotic medications
  • People with mental illness may see a psychiatrist regularly but may not have access to a general practitioner

And these explanations don’t even take things like suicide into account.

I know I for one don’t want to cut my life short, but when it comes to things like medication it can sometimes feel like we don’t have a choice but to take them.

I guess what I took away from this was that we all need to be on top of taking care of ourselves, because we are the only ones that are going to do it. I know health can kind of fall on the back burner when things like our sanity is on the line, but it is important to consider the health of your entire body, not just the mind.

I didn’t want to end the week on something of a downer, but I really see this as an opportunity for inspiration to do the things I need to do to keep healthy. Don’t become a statistic, hopefully it can inspire you, too!

One response to “Lower Life Expectancy with Mental Illness

  1. Great blog. On the medication front, I think there should be more looking into alternative medicinal routes that don’t have the nasty side effects — acupuncture, medical marijuana, other plants and herbs … etc. That could help quite a bit. The entry is also from a guy with bipolar who used to smoke two packs of cigs a day and witnessed “nature walks’ in hospitals as just going outside in a secure area and having a few cigs. Ug.

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