I came across and article on Fox News suggestion that bipolar disorder result in an earlier death rate of about ten years. This articles contends there are a couple reasons for this. The suicide rate is high among people with bipolar disorder. However this is not enough to contend for the entire loss of ten years. Other contributing factors may be, the nature of the disease, side effects of medications, and lack of health care.
However this earlier study contends that the life expectancy of those with mental illness can be up to 25 years shorter than the average life span. This points out a much bigger problem. The increase in morbidity is attributed to several factors:
Preventable risk factors including: smoking, alcohol consumption, poor nutrition and obesity, lack of exercise, "unsafe" sexual behavior, IV drug usage, and exposure to TB in a residential setting.
Vulnerabilities including: Homelessness, victimization, unemployment, poverty, incarceration and social isolation.
Impact of mental health symptoms: impaired reality, disorganized thought processed, impulsivity, paranoia, mood instability, lack of motivation and hopelessness.
Issues as the result of medications: masking physical health symptoms, metabolic syndrome, reduction in pain sensitivity, side effects, weight gain, high tryglicerides, diabetes.
Lack of access to health care.
Lack of coordination between mental health and health care providers.
This article does not indicate if there are underlying physical issues as a result of the mental illness. However negative effects of a mental illness result in less motivation to engage in needed health care services.
This article proposes a three prong attack to solve the problem. The first proposal is encouraging families and the community to develop a vision of integrated care. By integrated care they mean getting physical health care and mental health care in the same place.
Next to actually achieve integrated physical and behavioral health care through advocacy and education. And finally to pursue client centered care that is recovery and wellness focused.
This article is a bit dated, and some progress is being made, but very slowly. There are still mental health clients to lack access to physical health care. It is also too easy to gain weight on certain medications, and this can lead to other health issues.