Poor People More Likely to Suffer Mental Illness, Anxiety Issues?


According to a new study, people who have low incomes are more likely to suffer from mental illness. Further, these same people are at a higher risk for suffering from issues relating to anxiety, substance abuse and mood disorders.

In order to come to their conclusions, researchers analyzed data from nearly 35,000 adults who took part in the U.S. National Epidemiologic Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions. These participants -- all aged twenty or older -- were interviewed twice throughout the study, three years apart.

"Participants with household income of less than $20,000 per year were at increased risk of incident mood disorders during the three-year follow-up period in comparison with those with income of $70,000 or more per year," wrote Dr. Jitender Sareen, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Manitoba in Canada.

As per the results, individuals who found their household income drop in between the interviews experienced more mood and anxiety disorders, along with an increases in substance abuse cases. On the flip side, participants who suffered no decrease to their income in the time between the interviews showed no such negative mental health symptoms.

"Most important, the findings suggest that income below $20,000 per year is associated with substantial psychopathologic characteristics and that there is a need for targeted interventions to treat and prevent mental illness in this low-income sector of the population," the researchers concluded. "The findings also suggest that adults with reduction in income are at increased risk of mood and substance use disorders."

This study appeared in the March issue of the Archives of Psychiatry.

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