Shorter Life Expectancy for Mentally Ill Singaporeans

Are you reluctant to get help for your mental health in Singapore? According to Today Online, mental illness can shorten a person’s life by up to 20 years, especially if the mental health condition remains undiagnosed and untreated. Find out how life may be shortened for people who struggle with anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or depression in Singapore.

A Dramatic Difference in Life Expectancy

Over the past century, life expectancy for people in Singapore and throughout the world has increased. Better medical care and new technologies enable early diagnosis and quick treatment of many physical issues. In fact, for Singaporeans, the average life expectancy is 82.

However, for those living with mental illness, the life expectancy is far shorter. Most of these people die in their sixties. Between 2015 and 2016, 891 patients died at the Institute of Mental Health in Singapore; and the average age for those patients was 64.3. The lower life expectancy for mentally ill citizens is the same in other countries around the world, including the United States.

The Higher Risk to Schizophrenia Patients

According to a 2015 study published in the Jama Psychiatry journal, individuals who suffer from schizophrenia have the shortest life spans. On average, their lives are cut short by 28.5 years, rather than 20.

One Singaporean woman in her sixties battled schizophrenia for most of her life, experiencing delusions, hallucinations, and other symptoms. The constant stress on her body eventually led to heart disease, hypertension, and Type 2 diabetes, causing her death by sepsis when she was in her sixties.

The Lack of a Healthy Lifestyle

Why the difference in life expectancy? Experts suggest that people with mental disorders do not always take care of their bodies the way they should. Some of them may engage in self-harm or attempt suicide. Those with severe depression or anxiety may overeat as a way of coping with their feelings. Lack of exercise, poor hygiene, and unfortunate dietary choice are all contributing factors. People with poor mental health in Singapore are also more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol or take up smoking.

The Fear of Professional Help

Beyond these lifestyle factors, there is the stigma associated with seeking help. Individuals with mental illness may fear the stigma of visiting a psychiatrist in Singapore; and they may extend that feeling to visits with a regular medical doctor as well.

“Many of our patients say they don’t want to see the general physician because they feel they are treated differently (because of their condition),” said Adjunct Associate Professor Daniel Fung, chairman on the IMH Medical Board. “They also don’t want to seek medical care because they don’t want sensitive health information to be shared.”

Fearing repercussions in their professional and personal lives, these individuals avoid going to a doctor at all; so their physical health suffers along with their mental health.

A Confidential Place to See a Psychiatrist in Singapore

If you know that something isn’t right with your mind or your body, don’t wait until complications shorten your life! Visit one of the experienced, caring psychiatrists or psychologists at Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic. We will help you feel welcomed and secure in our beautiful offices, and you’ll be able to talk with a psychiatrist who can evaluate your mental health and suggest some treatments and therapies to help you. Then, as your mind is being well-cared for and guided back to health, you can also get a medical doctor’s help for any physical issues. Caring for your own body and mind can transform you into a happier, healthier person who can enjoy life.

News Feed from Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic

Source: Today Online, 13 Sept 2017