Study: Mental, behavioral disorders leading cause of disability

The United States is lagging behind its economic peers when it comes to health outcomes, asserts a new study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, the study includes estimates for death and disability for 67 risk factors and nearly 300 diseases, conditions and injuries in the United States from 1990 through 2010.

The analysis showed that while the United States spends more than the rest of the world on health care, it is not translating into better health outcomes. 

Included among the findings:

  • Drug use disorders led to more years of life lost in 2010 than prostate cancer and brain cancer combined, and increased by 448 percent between 1990 and 2010.
  • Self-harm is one of the top 10 causes of years of life lost in 2010
  • Mental and behavioral disorders make up 27 percent of “years lived with disability,” or years spent in less than “optimal” health. Depression, anxiety disorders and drug and alcohol misuse were the biggest contributors.

Learn more here