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Excess mortality of mental disorder

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 January 2018

Clare Harris
Affiliation:
Mental Health Group, University of Southampton
Brian Barraclough
Affiliation:
Mental Health Group, University of Southampton
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Background

We describe the increased risk of premature death from natural and from unnatural causes for the common mental disorders.

Method

With a Medline search (1966–1995) we found 152 English language reports on the mortality of mental disorder which met our inclusion criteria. From these reports, covering 27 mental disorder categories and eight treatment categories, we calculated standardised mortality ratios (SMRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for all causes of death, all natural causes and all unnatural causes; and for most, SMRs for suicide, other violent causes and specific natural causes.

Results

Highest risks of premature death, from both natural and unnatural causes, are for substance abuse and eating disorders. Risk of death from unnatural causes is especially high for the functional disorders, particularly schizophrenia and major depression. Deaths from natural causes are markedly increased for organic mental disorders, mental retardation and epilepsy.

Conclusion

All mental disorders have an increased risk of premature death.

Type
Review Article
Copyright
Copyright © 1998 The Royal College of Psychiatrists 

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