Mortality Gap Remains for People with Psychiatric Diagnosis

Studies on life expectancy find a mortality gap—people with a psychiatric diagnosis die earlier on average than people without a diagnosis.


Studies on life expectancy have consistently identified a “mortality gap”—people with a psychiatric diagnosis die earlier on average than people without a diagnosis.

Recently, Danish researchers attempted to discover if the shorter lifespan indicated by the mortality gap had changed in the past twenty years. They found that it improved slightly for some diagnoses, but had not changed for schizophrenia and substance use diagnoses. Overall, people with a psychiatric diagnosis still lived lives 8.3 years shorter, on average, than the general population.

Oleguer Plana-Ripoll led the research at the National Centre for Register-Based Research, Aarhus University, Denmark. It was published in JAMA Psychiatry.

The researchers were only able to use people with a psychiatric diagnosis made in a hospital setting, so these results were likely for people who were accessing treatment. That makes it unlikely that the life expectancy gap was due to the “untreated underlying disorder,” as psychiatric researchers sometimes suggest.

The researchers found that overall, mortality rates did improve slightly in Denmark. In 1995, people with a psychiatric diagnosis lived lives 9.7 years shorter, on average, than the general population; in 2015, people with a psychiatric diagnosis lived lives 8.3 years shorter (an improvement of 1.4 years).

However, this improvement was only found for people with certain diagnoses: “The life expectancy gap was reduced for mood disorders (0.8 years), neurotic disorders (1.7 years), and personality disorders (0.9 years); remained similar for schizophrenia and substance use disorders; and increased for organic disorders (1.1 years).”

Additionally, according to the researchers, early deaths due to natural causes actually increased for people with a psychiatric diagnosis.

“For natural causes of death, those with mental disorders did not reflect the benefits seen in the general population.”

There are many reasons that “natural causes” could be an increasing cause of death for people with a psychiatric diagnosis. For instance, people with psychiatric diagnoses lead more sedentary lifestyles and are more likely to be smokers, on average.

Another explanation, not discussed by this study, could be the result of poorer health care for people with a psychiatric diagnosis due to the bias of healthcare professionals. For example, when someone with a psychiatric diagnosis presents with a complaint, a doctor is more likely to assume that their problem is psychosomatic and not conduct further tests. This causes doctors to miss physical health problems in people who have a psychiatric diagnosis.

Although the researchers don’t mention it, iatrogenic harm caused by psychiatric medications could also be an explanation, as the drugs lead to weight gain, metabolic syndrome, and cardiac problems, among other adverse effects.

One of the authors of the study was quoted late last year in a news piece about a related study, saying that people with psychiatric disorders “are much more likely to die from cardiovascular and lung disorder at a younger age compared to the general population. This is a new and rather disappointing finding.”

In the current study, the researchers suggest “interventions associated with promoting a healthier lifestyle and optimizing the general medical care of those with mental disorders,” to increase the lifespans of people with psychiatric diagnoses and reduce the mortality gap.



Plana-Ripoll, O., Weye, N., Momen, N. C., Christensen, M. K., Iburg, K. M., Laursen, T. M., & McGrath, J. J. (2020). Changes over time in the differential mortality gap in individuals with mental disorders. JAMA Psychiatry. Published online April 8, 2020. DOI:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.0334 (Link)


  1. Early death is not the problem.
    It is the quality of ones moments that matter.
    For psychiatry to have the power to make or break people in regards
    to dashing hopes or belief in oneself, that is the unforgivable act.
    But so it goes and has done so for ever. Abuse, oppression, violent acts
    have ALWAYS been sanctioned by government, rulers and those committed on
    an individual basis are disciplined.

    I do not believe that we will remember one iota of anything that transpired, once
    dead, but it is paramount that our rulers/leaders not be complacent in abuse, oppression
    to our young and steal their individuality, for having done nothing wrong.
    As in days of old, it seems we still have leaders and rulers that cannot and will not differentiate
    between personal beliefs, and actual crimes.
    Which is outrageously weird, and seems SO far removed from anything that resembles an aware society.
    Still so rooted in paranoia and utterly ancient behaviours/beliefs

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  2. Are the scientists that you refer to making something seem better than it actually is? I read Danish scientist that states that schizophrenics have a life expectancy that is 20 to 25 years shorter. Some data were also reported to the CRPD Committee at the United Nations by the State of Denmark in 2014. “Health (art. 25) The Committee is concerned at information indicating that persons with psychosocial disabilities have a life expectancy that is 15 to 20 years shorter than persons without psychosocial disabilities.”, Concluding Observations of the Initial Report of Denmark of 3 October 2014 para. 56. Link:

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  3. “poorer health care for people with a psychiatric diagnosis” and “iatrogenic harm caused by psychiatric medications” are definitely problems that should be mentioned. And lunatic “mental health” workers who tell their clients to “quit all your activities and concentrate on the meds” and “quit exercising,” truly are satanists who give their clients bad advice. But, then again, those “mental health professionals” only care about profiteering off of covering up child abuse and rape for the religions, which is the number one actual societal function of the “mental health” workers, it seems.

    And it’s by DSM design.

    Let’s hope “the dirty little secret of the two original educated professions” is put to an end at some point. Because the “mental health professionals,” doctors and religious leaders really should not be running a multibillion dollar, primarily child abuse covering up, group of scientifically “invalid” “mental health” and “social worker” industries. But thanks, in part, to all those participating in such criminal cover ups of child abuse, we now all live in a “pedophile empire.”

    Upside down and backwards, America, I painted it 15 years ago. “Prophetic.” “Too truthful.” “Insightful.” “Work of smart female.” Maybe people should start to pay attention to us “canaries in the coal mines?” Maybe those of us with multiple Phi Beta Kappa members and Olympic athletes in our families – and no family history of “mental illness” – are the ones with good genetics, not bad genetics? Just a theory. But the “mental health” workers want to murder and steal from those of us to speak and paint the truth, so as to maintain their “pedophile empire”/”the status quo.” I think we should take this world elsewhere instead.

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  4. The I guess ironic thing about the “it’s lifestyle factors” explanation for the reduced lifespan is the drugs worsen/cause these lifestyle factors. SSRI’s increase alcohol consumption, “antipsychotics” are associated with more tobacco use. These drugs can also make you lethargic, apathetic and unmotivated which makes it harder to exercise and eat healthy. The drugs also cause weight gain with some people gaining 100 pounds because of them.
    Blaming “lifestyle factors” is a good way to deflect blame onto the victims but it misses the point that the drugs cause the lifestyle factors. It reminds me how the pro-druggers claimed it was schizophrenia that caused brain damage when it turned out to be the “antipsychotics”.

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    • Excellent points! I often wondered why so many people identified as “SMI” smoked cigarettes, a factor many in the industry blamed for their early deaths. It was only in the last 10 years or so that I became aware that people on “antipsychotics” often use cigarettes to offset the assault on their dopamine systems, to try and slightly lift the severely depleted levels of dopamine caused by the drugs. And I always found it particularly offensive when clients, often children or teens, were told to go on a diet and to exercise more because of the huge weight gain they experienced on Zyprexa or other “antipsychotics.” Their doctors didn’t even bother to tell them that the weight gain was directly related to the drugs. How is that not malpractice? But as usual, the individual or “the disease” is responsible for anything bad that happens, while any positives are attributed to the drugs.

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      • Children given stimulants are taught and internalize the idea that the only reason they behave is because they take a pill to correct their broken brain. The same applies to people diagnosed with depression and schizophrenia. The happiness and success they get is not attributed to their hard work and determination but rather to the drugs. Yet the side effects from the drugs such as weight gain etc are blamed on the individual. This world view creates chronic patients with low self esteem. The saddest part is it’s completely false.

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  5. Another factor is the persons teeth. Chewing food lets you get nutrition. My teeth are in bad shape, how about yours?
    “Many psychoactive medications cause dry mouth, which makes teeth much more prone to decay,”

    If you can’t get out of bed from the psychiatric medication, you also will be unlikely to take care of your teeth.

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    • I think the fact that I took care of my teeth, was part of why a decent doctor, at one of the most well respected hospitals in the country, took the BS “bipolar” misdiagnosis off my medical records.

      And it was a dental surgeon (pardon me for forgetting the actual term for such doctors), named Pecheure, who said his name means “fisher of men,” who did confess to me that “antipsychotics don’t cure concerns of child abuse.” It was quoting him, that did allow me to make a mockery of, embarrass, and escape the insane child abuse profiteering psychiatrists.

      I agree, the dentists are not stupid doctors, like the psychiatrists. The dentists do have value. Taking care of your teeth can actually save you from the insane, systemic child rape covering up, psychiatrists.

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  6. The truth is it’s only recently that mortality rates for the “SMI” have been higher. Since all those safe and effective treatments came out. (SAFE for doctors to prescribe and EFFECTIVE at making them and their Pharma cronies very rich.) And any hope of recovery has gone out the window too.

    I refer you to Mad in America and Anatomy of an Epidemic to look at the elephant in the living room.

    Psychiatrists, medical professionals, mentalists, and many others don’t care if they kill us. They don’t care if we seize, lose brain function, can no longer live independently or walk, experience nerve damage and (mercifully) die at 52. All in a day’s work for them.

    I realized how shrinks were okay with our dying when I lost a good friend at age 29. Her shrink gave her a drug that gave her grand mal seizures and threatened her not to go off it. My friend died that weekend while that shrink went off to party on a Caribbean cruise.

    None of the NAMI mommies (we both volunteered there) gave a damn that she died either. That’s when I realized NAMI isn’t about helping people. It’s about selling drugs. The only non-professionals they actually help are parents and spouses who despise their “loved ones” so much they want them to lose all cognitive function, the ability to live independently, and die early.

    Another friend left NAMI after she saw how chill they were with her “schizophrenic” sister being drugged on a poly-pharma regimen till all her organs failed at 49. If an eccentric adult relative embarrasses them so much they can always cut them off.

    But…no…it’s all about control. And the praise they get about how “kind” they are to their burdensome “SMI” accessories.

    Forcing us to take the drugs they worship means more to them than anything. Including our recovery, quality of life, or even survival itself.

    Just saw a commercial advertising another drug to treat the tardive dyskinesia shrinks have denied for decades. Of course coming off that “medication” is unthinkable since you “need” that mega dose of Haldol to treat the “bipolar” your shrink created by giving you an SSRI you had a reaction to and blaming it all on you. Horrible people with no conscience or empathy!

    We are only objects for them to get rich by performing cruel, pointless experiments on.

    They don’t serve us, but the public by providing a sense of security and “protecting” everybody from the monsters they create through torture and brain/nerve damage. They don’t give a damn about the well being of their human lab rats!

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    • Great comment Rachel,
      I don’t know if any shrink likes his clients. Perhaps he smiles in a weirdly patronising manner and makes a patronising comment.
      I’ve been treated like that by regular doctors and have since decided that I will not need any healthcare.
      None is better than garbage and being spoken down to. We tolerate that to a certain age only.

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    • It’s likely that drug-induced manganese deficiency has a role in promoting tardive dyskinesias, as Richard Kunin noticed about 35 years ago, after successfully treating 14 out of a series of 15 patients with the condition by using manganese salts. The other orthomolecular guys have since taken it up, guaranteeing that you’ll have permanent cases among patients receiving conventional drug treatments, instead.

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    • The answer is always more drugs. Have a side effect from a drug, here take another drug. The first SSRI didn’t work here try another SSRI. The current “antidepressant” doesn’t work here add on an “antipsychotic”. Some people will get put on a 8 different “antidepressants” that don’t work and the answer is another “antidepressant”.
      Objectively they are worse than your typical recreational drug dealer. They force the drugs on people. They force them on children. They lie to trick people into getting addicted. Most drug dealers do less harm.

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  7. “Although the researchers don’t mention it, iatrogenic harm caused by psychiatric medications could also be an explanation, as the drugs lead to weight gain, metabolic syndrome, and cardiac problems, among other adverse effects.”
    This is tacked on at the end of the article, almost as an afterthought.
    Alcohol, tobacco, poor diet, and drug abuse mortality stats are very high.
    When the industry adds them to an individual’s allostatic load after psychiatric dosing, it’s a combo-platter that can be ‘interpreted’ in an infinite variety of self-serving ways. It’s too easy and nobody’s asking us.

    My favorite writer, David Mamet: “People may or may not say what they mean but they always say something designed to get what they want.” Psychiatric ‘studies’ 101.

    For every reader of this website, his 1987 “House of Games” film is essential. I saw it before I was labeled.
    A psychiatrist enmeshed with a professional con-artist…(I know). The ‘attraction’ is mutual (for very different reasons), and disturbing as boundaries are crossed and blurred, with an astonishing (yet not) ending.
    Things aren’t what they seem, it’s all sleight-of-hand, some hidden, some obvious (no).
    A perfect metaphor for my experience with psychiatrists, the industry, and their diminishing, desperate fist holding power and ruining lives.

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