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Mental Disorders Were Most Costly in U.S. in 2013

Spending on mental disorders exceeded that of heart conditions in 2013, reaching $201 billion

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THURSDAY, May 26, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Mental disorders were the most costly conditions in the United States in 2013, with a cost of $201 billion, according to a study published in the May issue of Health Affairs.

Charles Roehrig, Ph.D., from the Altarum Institute in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and examined the allocation of spending across medical conditions in the United States.

Roehrig notes that in 1996, the most costly medical conditions were heart conditions ($105 billion), followed by mental disorders ($79 billion). In 2004, these conditions had equal spending ($131 billion each), while in 2013, spending on mental disorders had exceeded that of heart conditions, with spending of $201 billion, compared with $147 billion on heart conditions. The average annual growth rate in spending on mental disorders was 5.6 percent, compared with 2 percent for spending on heart conditions. Most of the fastest-growing medical conditions in terms of spending were medical conditions associated with obesity; most of the spending growth rates were too high to be explained by obesity-induced increased disease prevalence, and were likely due to the introduction of expensive new treatments.

"A look ahead suggests that reductions in deaths from heart conditions and cerebrovascular disease are likely to drive spending on mental disorders even higher, as more people survive to older ages -- when mental disorders, such as dementia, become more prevalent," the author writes.

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