Mental illnesses are complex in nature and the chances of complete cure are less. Even in developed countries like the USA, there is an acute scarcity of proper mental health care centers. Mentally ill patients require constant attention and care which their relatives and dear ones often fail to offer.
Scientists have been trying to discover the effect of mental illness on mortality and life span. Recent studies show that mental illness makes patients prone to committing suicide and other risky behaviors. According to scientists, mental illness can have worse impact on life span than smoking. In the following, the impacts of mental illness on one’s life span and tips for improving mental health have been discussed.
Exploring the connection between mental illness and mortality
Researchers have found that people suffering from mental illnesses like chronic depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and other complex mental disorders die at a younger age than mentally fit individuals. They have also discovered that in general, mental illness robs one of nearly 15 years of their life span.
Every year, 8 million people around the world die due to mental illnesses of different types. In United States of America alone, there are 9.6 million people diagnosed with mental illness. Oxford researcher Seena Fazel who led a team of researchers, believes that high risk behaviors of mentally ill patients make them vulnerable and prone to drug abuse.
They often hallucinate and lose all hopes in life. Rates of suicides have also spiraled in the past few years as stress of sustaining an urban lifestyle has increased. For drawing accurate results, Seena Fazel and her team has Meta analyzed more than 400 papers. Results show that schizophrenia can reduce life span by 10 to 20 years whereas bipolar disorder decreases life span by 9 to 10 years. Even depression can reduce life span by 7-11 years.
Preventing mental illness from taking a toll on life span
Mental health is often overlooked and ignored by people. According to WHO, mental health should not be ignored as it is an important part of overall health. One should consult a psychologist as soon as they start feeling mentally disturbed. Sometimes, understanding and recognizing the symptoms of mental disorders become very difficult. Only an expert can analyze them properly. The government should take necessary measures for including mental health care facilities in health promotion programs.
Social and health care facilities and easy access to psychological counseling promote better mental health. Medicines and psychoanalysis can also help in reducing suicidal behaviors and rehabilitate the mental patients.
Tips for mental fitness
The primary and most important way of maintaining your mental health is doing what makes you feel content. Do not force yourself continuously to do things that you absolutely hate or behave in an unnatural way just because you want to fit in. Find the true calling of your life and make time for your hobbies.
Brain exercises are also helpful for enhancing your mental prowess and intelligence. Do not depend on others for emotional fulfillment. Keep some time for unwinding and relaxing. Having family meals or taking out your pets are enjoyable and relaxing activities that help an individual retain his or her sanity. Exercise and read books to keep depression and anxiety at bay.
Mental disorders can reduce a person’s life span by 10 or more years. Stay mentally active and seek help in time for combating the ill effects of mental illnesses.