Posted by bob on January 6, 2002, at 19:18:06
In reply to Re: Previous Life Expectancies » spike4848, posted by IsoM on January 6, 2002, at 16:44:06
Yes, I'd have to agree here, that I'm not so sure that an increase in the average life expectancy leads to an increase in incidence of depression. However, more people living into old age certainly offers more chances for developing some sort of mental illness (in terms of absolute quantities of cases). If the average life expectancy was 35, there wouldn't be that many people making it to 80. People who die at 35 but were mentally sound, don't develop mental illness after that.
Nevertheless... I'm not sure that the incidence, normalized by age, for any particular mental illness has changed much over history. Many of these disorders, especially severe ones, have onsets in the 20s. I'm sure this has probably been true forever.