Mild Mental Illness Increases Death Risk
Low-level disorders raise it by 16%, says study
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2012 5:34 PM CDT
Low-level mental stress increases early mortality by 16%, shows a new study.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – In the largest study of its kind, scientists found that mild mental illness, including low-level anxiety and depression, increases the chance of an early death, reports the BBC. British scientists analyzed 68,000 people in England who died prematurely from conditions such as heart disease and cancer and found that a mild level of psychological distress raised the risk of an early death by 16%. An estimated one in four people experience low-grade mental health disorders, including OCD, phobias, and stress.

"Even what may be considered mild depression can cut short a person's life," says a mental health expert, "not only through the use of alcohol, cigarettes and other substances, but by directly affecting the recovery from physical illnesses such as heart disease." Severe mental illnesses increased the mortality rate by 67%, although the connection between acute mental illness and early death was already well-established.