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Developing accuracy when estimating Global Burden of Disease (GBD) in mental and substance use disorders using complex research methodology, refined data analysis and community participation
  1. Edilma L Yearwood
  1. Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies, Georgetown University, Washington, District of Columbia, USA;

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What is already known on this topic?

Global Burden of Disease (GBD) is a quantified estimate of health loss as a result of risk, injury or disease.1 Mortality rates along with disability estimates from multiple data sources provides a rank ordering of significant health-related issues contributing to disease burden globally. More than 13% of GBD is due to neuropsychiatric and substance use disorders.2

What does this paper add?

  • Burden of mental and substance use disorders increased by 37% between 1990 and 2010 primarily due to population growth and an ageing global population.

  • Mental and substance use disorders are the fifth leading cause of global disability-adjusted life years, but the leading cause of non-fatal burden of disease years lost due to disabilities.

  • Several mental and substance use disorders are miscoded and included in estimates of medical mortality or morbidity rates. An example of this includes narcotic overdoses, which are categorised as a cardiovascular or neurological self-harm event or an accidental death.


  • A self-identified limitation included acknowledgement that fewer web-based …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • For reference list, see online version at