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Chronic illness in young Australian adults

Marie-Louise B Dick
Med J Aust 2003; 179 (5): 238.
Published online: 1 September 2003

The prevalence of degenerative chronic illnesses is low in Australian adults aged 25–44 years. Using the estimated number of years of life lost due to disability as a measure of the burden of disability, the most important chronic disabilities for this age group can be attributed to alcohol misuse, depression and anxiety disorders (particularly generalised anxiety disorder and social phobia).1 According to Australian general practice data collected in the 1999–2000 BEACH (Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health) survey, a disproportionately high number of mental-health problems are managed in the 25–44 years age group (26% of all general practice consultations, yet 33% of all encounters involving one or more mental-health related problems, were for 25–44-year-olds).2,3 Excessive alcohol consumption and depression are also major risk factors for two of the principal causes of mortality in this age group — road traffic accidents and suicide.

  • Marie-Louise B Dick

  • Centre for General Practice, School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Herston, QLD.

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