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New York
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Urban Connect is an information hub dedicated to sharing resources related to Yoga, Buddhism, and Psychology, and exploring the connections of these subjects, for the purpose of promoting personal growth and healing. The site also targets how these subjects relate to under-served urban communities and the adversities they encounter.

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Premature Death of the Mentally Ill; Perhaps Preventable With Yoga and Meditative Practices

Erica Saccente

I came across some startling statistics today. People living with serious mental illness die an average of 25 years earlier than the general population, in the United States. The majority of these premature deaths are caused by cardiovascular disease. Fifty percent of people in New York State taking psychotropic medications and receiving Medicaid are taking antipsychotic medications, which are infamous for their effects on metabolic impairment, including elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity, all of which can lead to cardiovascular disease. This suggests that psychotropic medications taken by people living with a psychiatric disorder are contributing to a shortened life span amongst this population. Of course, there are other influential factors, but the facts are alarming. Yoga and meditation have been shown to decrease things like blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as help with weight loss, stress reduction, and controlling blood sugar. Thus, they are practices that could help lessen the damage done by psychotropic medications used to alleviate symptoms. There are some research studies to this effect, as well as some others underway. It seems to be an important direction for researchers to explore, and in the meantime, individuals can incorporate these practices on their own and assess for any changes in their metabolic function and cardiovascular health. If you are a mental health consumer, talk to your provider about any related concerns. And, if you are a psychiatric provider or know someone taking these types of medications, please consider and share this important information! 

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