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The Source: White American Death Rate Increase Linked To Addiction and Mental Health

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Middle-aged white Americans undoubtedly is one of the most fortunate demographics in the world. But according to Princeton economists Angus Deaton and Anne Case, this group is actually experiencing a surprising increase in mortality rates.

Fast food and unhealthy life styles are not to blame. Instead, Deaton and Case found the cause to be substance abuse, suicide, and alcoholic liver disease. In this demographic, Americans with only a high school education were especially likely to die earlier. 

The United States has seen a dramatic increase in opiate overdoses in the last few years. Currently, they account for the second largest cause of accidental deaths in the country. Because these overdose rates and mortality statistics are so high, some argue mental health could be to blame. This theory points to an interesting question: could psychiatry help decreasing substance abuse deaths? 

If anxiety, depression, and work stress contribute to these mental health issues and deaths, is psychiatry the solution? 


  • Steven Plizka, a professor and chair of the department of psychiatry at the University of Texas Health Science Center