The White Coat Investor

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Nov 18, 2002
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This link says the seriously mentally ill die 25 years earlier than the rest of us.,8599,1863220,00.html

What I found curious was that this surprised people. I mean, I can count on one hand the people I've met with serious mental illness who don't smoke. Few of them actually take their medication. When they do, the meds they're on seem to have a higher rate of adverse effects than non-psych meds. (Why else can you treat every psych condition with the same drug?) They often don't have PCPs. They're often homeless, poor, addicted to drugs or alcohol, and, at a higher rate than society in general but not necessarily "often", stupid. Not to mention, lots of seriously mentally ill are actually actively trying to kill themselves.

Why would you expect any other outcome? I would be curious as to what would happen if you controlled for all these variables.


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Aug 26, 2001
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you forgot noncompliance with medical plans and denial of many very real medical conditions....
doesn't surprise me one bit. I've seen lots of folks with otherwise "good genes"(living parents in their 90's, etc) die in their 50's and 60's due to issues surrounding their mental illness....


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That said, they also get subpar medical treatment from doctors who presume they'll be noncompliant. I did a psych rotation where we'd get a med consult for uncontrolled hypertension or endocrine consult for diabetes, and the psychiatrist would keep demanding simpler regimens from the consultants because "that's too many pills, he's not going to do that." So if they were getting any treatment at all, it was definitely not state-of-the-art care.

I'm not surprised that they die sooner, but 25 years is a bit shocking.
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Speed Racer

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This is no surprise...A psyc attending used to quote to me that %50 of schizos die violently (Suicide, OD, Murder etc) by age 50...or something to that affect.


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patients with a serious mental illness die sooner than others even after accounting for smoking and socio-economic status, degree of treatment for known conditions, and many other factors. The truth is that in current times, psych pts die most often of cardiovascular disease, but earlier than non-psych peers. we don't really know why.

Still, good medical care, help navigating the primary care system, family support will all help reduce this tide.


But their dispo to bed times are about 4x the average at our facility. Maybe that's why they die so quickly. Only the strong can survive 48 hours of tech supervision in the psych ed waiting for a bed.


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Add the diffilculty in recognizing when they are sick because of our biases or their inability to express whats wrong.
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