The Global Burden of Disease Studies

Led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) is the largest systematic effort describing the global distribution, mortality, and disability presented by major diseases, injuries, and risk factors. Both fatal and non-fatal burden is quantified in terms of years of life lost due to premature mortality (YLLs) and years lived with disability (YLDs) respectively, with overall burden measured through the disability-adjusted life year (DALY) which is the sum of both YLLs and YLDs.

PEABOD, led by Harvey Whiteford and Louisa Degenhardt (UNSW, Australia), is responsible for the mental and illicit drug use disorders included in GBD. PEABOD conducts the systematic reviews, data extraction, statistical modelling, and incorporation of expert feedback required for producing the epidemiological input that informs burden calculations. Each member of PEABOD holds an affiliate position with the University of Washington and is responsible for a portfolio of disorders as listed below:

Alize Ferrari (Lead)

  • Major depressive disorder (MDD)
  • Dysthymia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Cannabis dependence
  • Mental and substance use disorders as a risk factor for suicide

Holly Erskine

  • Conduct disorder
  • ADHD
  • Autism
  • Asperger’s syndrome
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Bulimia Nervosa

Fiona Charlson

  • Schizophrenia
  • Amphetamine dependence
  • Cocaine dependence
  • Opioid dependence
  • Injecting drug use (IDU)
  • MDD as a risk factor for ischemic heart disease (IHD)

The Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 (GBD 2010)

The results of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 (GBD 2010) were released in a special, triple issue of the Lancet in December 2012. Mental and substance use disorders were found to be the leading cause of disability across the globe and were ranked 5th in terms of DALYs.

In August 2013, two papers further investigating the role of mental and substance use disorders in the global burden of disease landscape were published by the Lancet (see Publications) and garnered substantial attention form the local and international media.  An infographic, available from TheLancetTV, details the main results of both papers (Acknowledgement: The Lancet, 2013).

A number of papers detailing the epidemiology and burden of individual mental and substance use disorders have been published by members of PEABOD in a variety of high-impact factor journals (see Publications).

The Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 (GBD 2013)

In 2013, work began on the latest iteration of GBD. The results of GBD 2013 will be published in the Lancet in late 2014/early 2015.