The 2 Most Disabling Mental Health Conditions

The study compared 18 different mental health problems and substance use disorders.

The study compared 18 different mental health problems and substance use disorders.

Personality disorders and schizophrenia are the two most disabling mental health conditions, research finds.

The most disabling condition, schizophrenia, is one of the most serious types of mental illness.

It can cause delusions, hallucinations, confused thinking and dramatic changes in behaviour.

People diagnosed with schizophrenia lost 73 percent of their healthy lives per year to the disease, on average.

The figure is so high because people with schizophrenia often have other problems at the same time, such as a substance use disorders.

After schizophrenia, personality disorders are the next most disabling condition.

Personality disorders affect around one- in-six people in the U.S..

People with a personality disorder behave, think and feel very differently from the average person.

There areĀ three types of personality disorder:

  1. Fearful or anxious.
  2. Emotional, dramatic or erratic.
  3. Eccentric or odd.

The conclusions come from a study that examined the relative impact of different mental health conditions on people’s lives.

Professor John McGrath, study co-author, said:

“Traditionally the impact of mental disorders has been presented for an entire nation, but in this study, we focussed on people with different types of mental and substance use disorders at an individual level.

We found that schizophrenia and personality disorders were the most disabling mental conditions and showed how disorders like autism, anxiety disorders and schizophrenia contribute to disability at different ages.

Our new measure known as the Health Loss Proportion (HeLP) allows us to measure the average disability for different disorders at the individual level, which means that individuals who experience more inherent disability, and more comorbid conditions, will have a higher HeLP weighting, and therefore a higher measure of disability.”

The study included data from almost 7 million people in Denmark.

It looked at 18 different mental health problems and substance use disorders.

Professor McGrath said:

“People with mental disorders lead valued and productive lives, despite a lack of social and economic support for their unmet needs.”

The study was published in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry (Weye et al., 2021).

Author: Jeremy Dean

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology. He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book "Making Habits, Breaking Habits" (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks.

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