September 4, 2012

Psychological distress can lower life expectancy: Study

A new study conducted by the British researchers indicates that people who suffer from mild mental diseases such as anxiety or depression are more likely to die early.

According to the study, funded by independent charity Wellcome Trust, that was published in the British Medical Journal, scientists found a link between psychological distress and death.

A team of researchers from the University College London and Edinburgh University followed the case by analyzing the premature deaths from conditions such as heart disease and cancer of 68,000 people in England from 1994 to 2004.

People who experienced symptoms of anxiety or depression on a standardized scale had a higher risk of death from several causes, including cardiovascular disease, than those without any such symptoms, the researchers found after reviewing the survey data and death certificates.

The result suggested that low-level distress raised the risk by 16 percent, while more serious problems increased it by 67 percent, though lifestyle factors such as drinking and smoking were taken into account.

"While this study looks at depression and anxiety, people with severe mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia die, on average, 20 years earlier than the rest of us," said chief executive of the charity Rethink Paul Jenkins. (APP)


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