Mental and substance use disorders collectively cause more disability internationally than other illnesses

Posted on September 2, 2013

MENTAL and substance use disorders are the leading cause of disability worldwide, a study led by Queensland researchers has found.

Psychiatrist Harvey Whiteford, of the University of Queensland, said conditions such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, eating disorders and alcohol abuse collectively caused more disability internationally than other illnesses, including cancer and heart disease.

A study in The Lancet, published today, estimated that mental and substance use disorders accounted for about 23 per cent of years lived with a disability worldwide, just ahead of musculoskeletal disorders, including back pain and arthritis (21 per cent). Comparatively, road crashes and other accidental injuries accounted for 3.4 per cent.

"Even in developed countries, treatment is typically provided many years after the disorder begins,'' he said. "We need a commitment from policy makers, governments and other stakeholders to treat more people and treat them earlier.''

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Source material from Herald Sun

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