You see anti-smoking campaigns, information, and cessation assistance programs everywhere you look; theyâre on television, at the corner store, and in magazines. You also hear doctors and politicians talking about the dangers of smoking. Thereâs no question; itâs a major health problem. But would it surprise you that mental health disorders can pose more of a risk to your health than chain smoking?
Iâve always known that mental health disorders play a major role in an individualâs physical health. But because of the stigma attached to mental health, it has never really gotten the exposure it deserves. Depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and other mental health problems can wear away at a personâs body and health, leading to early death.
A study from the University of Oxford has recently confirmed the physical tolls mental illness takes on an individual and it makes an eye-opening comparison. When compared to chain smoking, mental illness is more detrimental to a personâs lifespan.
The study is attempting to call attention to the vast role mental health plays in life expectancy, and when compared to big, scary killers like cigarettes, the mortality records are shocking. The team concluded that mental illness cuts life short by 10â20 years, while chain smokers tend to die eight to 10 years earlier than nonsmokers. Chain smokers were defined as people who smoke 20 cigarettes per day.
The issue at hand is that you canât just quit a mental health issue. Oftentimes, you need professional assistance, possibly some time off from work, medication, and most importantly, help from others without judgment. Societal stigmas make this very difficult. Not only are the resources insufficient (compared to anti-smoking efforts), but people often look at those suffering from mental health issues as strange or having something they âjust need to get over.â
Slightly more than a quarter of American adults suffer from some sort of metal illness in any given year. They can be related to bouts with extreme stress or depression, a traumatic event, or a more chronic condition, like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Postpartum depression is another example. Regardless of what the condition is or how long it lasts, it can manifest itself physically. People can lose sleep, experience exacerbated symptoms of existing physical conditions, and their bodies and minds can wear away as their mental illness takes over. It can manifest itself in all kinds of ways. Typically, we associate people with mental health disease to an increased risk of suicide, but there are so many more health threats that can cut a life short.
If youâre suffering from chronic stress or depression, or find yourself having a hard time coping in your daily life, you might need help. Donât be embarrassed about it. Talk to your friends, family, or doctor to come up with constructive ways to get help and lower the risk of early death.
Source for Todayâs Article:
âMany mental illnesses reduce life expectance more than smoking,â University of Oxford web site, May 23, 2014; http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2014-05-23-many-mental-illnesses-reduce-life-expectancy-more-heavy-smoking#.