Mortality 2-3x Greater in Bipolar, Schizophrenia


A study of more than 100,000 persons with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia from three Nordic countries found that  life expectancy was  12 to 20 years reduced for the men and 11 to 17 years reduced for the women, compared to the general population. The main reasons for the excess mortality were an unhealthy lifestyle in terms of their diet, smoking, alcohol use and exercise.  A higher mortality rate for individuals with schizophrenia compared to those with bipolar was seen as possibly due to the increased use of antipsychotic medications in the schizophrenia group. Results appear online in PL0S ONE.

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Laursen, T., Wahlbeck, K., Hällgren, J., Westman, J., Ösby, U., et al; Life Expectancy and Death by Diseases of the Circulatory System in Patients with Bipolar Disorder or Schizophrenia in the Nordic Countries. PLoS ONE 2013 8(6): e67133. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067133

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. The people in society who have the most motivation and reason to eat well, exercise, etc, are the people who have full equality and are not a hated, tortured minority living in a world where there are laws that legalize them being rounded up and treated like animals.

    I will also note, as I do whenever I see studies that draw upon the Nordic data, that the people that make up the data points in the study, are people involuntarily labeled Schizophrenic or Bipolar by government psychiatrists by force, in forced detentions in a ‘hospital’. If you get locked up and labeled in the Nordic countries, a few alleged ‘facts’ about you, such as the label slapped on you in an environment where you were denied a second opinion, could wind up in a study like this, and you will have no say in the matter. At root, these studies would not possible if consent was respected.

    The study is based on recorded cause of death on birth certificate, and recorded label slapped on the detainee during their internment in a Nordic forced psychiatry facility. That is it. No surveys were done for this study of specific lifestyle factors, the conclusions of other studies in this regard were simply mentioned.

    Useful only in proving psychiatry isn’t improving outcomes. Useless in every other regard.

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    • Thank you Francesca. I like your posts too. Together we all continue the fight for bodily ownership equality.

      *That’s my new phrase. It’s mean to roll off the tongue as easily as marriage equality does.

      I am still working on it.

      Others include bodily integrity equality, medical consent rights equality, consent refusal equality…. etc.

      Still market testing it.

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      • You’ve got another fan! Cool.

        How about establishing language for the Honor and Respect of ugly, misshapen, stinky people? Jeez, I’ve already failed. That’s because I’m bashed in the head one too many times and severely hurt, unable to get proper support and assistance. Not that I don’t deserve it, but people are too damned terrified of me. I’ve got the “bi-polar” energy of a power house. Sometimes, I snap power lines and explode light bulbs. Strange, but true.

        Anyhow, bodily ownership equality. I love it. Here ya go:

        There are MANY bodies (mental body, emotional body, energy body, anatomical body, etc.) and ALL of the bodies must EACH be accounted for, and not neglected or misdiagnosed or mistreated.

        I’m thrilled to see you around, Anonymous.

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