Mental and substance use disorders leading cause of non-fatal illness


Mental and substance-use disorders were the leading cause of non-fatal illness worldwide in 2010, according to researchers from Australia and the U.S. who analyzed data from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors Study 2010 (GBD 2010).

Results of the analysis showed that mental and substance use disorders were also the fifth leading cause of death and disease. That’s higher than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and diabetes.

According to the report: “Mental and substance-use disorders were the leading global cause of all non-fatal burden of disease (years lived with disability or YLDs). In 2010, they accounted for 175.3 million YLDs, or 22.9 percent of all non-fatal burdens. Depressive disorders contributed most of the non-fatal burden of mental and substance use disorders, followed by anxiety disorders, drug use disorders and schizophrenia.”

Numbers from the report may actually be higher. For purposes of the GBD 2010, suicides were reported as “injuries” even though the majority of them result from mental disorder. Death from illicit drug use may also be coded as “accidental poisoning,” thus underreporting those statistics as well.

Treatment remains low, stigma persists

“Despite the personal and economic costs, treatment rates for people with mental and substance use disorders are low, and even in developed countries, treatment is typically provided many years after the disorder begins,” said Prof. Harvey Whiteford of the Queensland Centre for Medical Health Research at the University of Queensland. “In all countries, stigma about mental and substance-use disorders constrain the use of available resources as do inefficiencies in the distribution of funding and interventions.”

Whiteford noted that more effective ways of providing sustainable mental health services needed to be created if the numbers of affected people are to be reduced.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, The Lancet


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