Study: Psychotic Disorder Diagnosis Greatly Increases Mortality Risk in Youths

Further emphasis for importance for mental health

New data in JAMA Psychiatry shows an undeniable link between diagnoses of psychotic disorder and premature death in adolescents and young adults.

The rate of all-cause mortality observed was about eight times higher than that of a control group of outpatients, according to the study. For people with all serious mental illnesses, the rate was 2-3 times higher than the control group, the study concluded.
“Much of the concern regarding excess mortality among people with psychotic disorders has focused on chronic illness, especially cardiovascular disease,” wrote Gregory E. Simon, MD, MPH, from Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute. “More recent research suggests an even greater increase in mortality soon after the initial diagnosis of a psychotic disorder.”

Researchers examined mortality in those ages 16–30 following the initial diagnosis of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, mood disorder with psychotic symptoms or other psychotic disorder. They included any individual who passed away within three years of the initial visit date.

Adding to long-standing concerns about mortality in people with psychotic disorders due to heart disease or diabetes is the findings that younger patients may be increasingly susceptible to unnatural causes of death, specifically suicide.

The authors urged clinicians to be particularly cognizant of the increased risk of mortality within 1–2 years of initial diagnosis.

JAMA Psychiatry, Healio

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