Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Mental Illnesses Associated With Accidental Deaths

Mental illness is related to all sorts of accidental deaths, especially poisoning and falls, a national population study based on Swedish data and reported in the British Journal of Psychiatry suggests. The lead researcher was Casey Crump, M.D., Ph.D., a clinical assistant professor of medicine at Stanford University.

Moreover, the strongest risk factor for death by accident, the study found, was alcohol use, followed by other substance use disorders, then by personality disorders, dementia, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia. The individuals who were most susceptible to an accidental death related to mental illness were older unmarried men of low socioeconomic status.

Possible reasons why mental illnesses may contribute to accidental death, the researchers proposed, include fatigue, poor concentration, sleep disturbance, psychotropic medication use, risk taking, or self-destructive behavior.

More information about mental illness and accidental death can be found in "An Examination of Premature Mortality Among Decedents With Serious Mental Illness and Those in the General Population" and "Risk of Death From Accidental Overdose Associated With Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders." 

(Image: Ann Baldwin/Shutterstock.com)


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