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Mental disorders top list of most costly conditions

May 27, 2016
by Tom Valentino, Senior Editor
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Mental disorders topped the list of most costly medical conditions in the U.S. in 2013, according to a study published this week by the journal Health Affairs.

At $201 billion, mental disorders easily outpaced heart conditions ($147 billion), trauma ($143 billion), cancer ($122 billion) and pulmonary conditions ($95 billion). The Health Affairs report rates mental disorders much higher than similar studies by other outlets because its data includes spending on institutionalized populations, which account for 40% of mental disorders spending.

Spending on mental disorders grew by an average of 5.6% per year from 1996 to 2013, which is roughly in line with the overall average climb of personal health spending over the same period (5.9%). Still, given its size as the largest category, mental disorders spending contributed the most in terms of excess dollars spent compared to gross domestic product at $38 billion.