Dr Kaleem Arshad MD

Arshad M Kaleem MD discusses mental illness in United States

Arshad M Kaleem MD, former President of Louisiana Psychiatric Medical Association. Reflects on the tremendous negative impact mental illness has on the country’s economy and citizens

Over 65 million, one in five people, in the USA suffer from diagnosable mental illnesses, says Arshad M Kaleem MD. Mental illness in the most common illness during the working age years and accounts for half of all the illnesses.

A Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Arshad M Kaleem MD states that mental illness costs the US economy billions in lost taxes and welfare payments. It accounts for close to half of disability benefits. Mentally ill patients consume disproportionally more health care resources in the treatment of physical illnesses. They typically use 60 percent more in physical health care than equally ill patients without mental illness issues. Treatment of mental illness will reduce the annual cost of treatment of physical illnesses by 20 percent.

Depression and Anxiety

Arshad M Kaleem MD says that depression and disabling anxiety accounts for most economic loss in employable patients. He emphasizes that just proper and timely treatment of these two disorders will boost the country’s GDP by 4 percent. Gains from the treatment of mental disorders far exceed the cost of treatment. Treatment of mental illness will bring up the employment rate in the USA. By over 4 percent adding billions to the economy.

Arshad M Kaleem MD, who is board certified in Adult, Geriatric and Addiction Psychiatry, states that unfortunately only a minority of the patients with mental illnesses, even in an advanced country like the USA, receive adequate and timely treatment for their ailments. Mental health costs are the largest single source; larger than cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, cancer, or diabetes. Mental illness alone will account for more than half of the projected total economic burden.


Arshad M Kaleem MD who served as medical director at Seaside Behavioral Center and Oceans Behavioral Hospital of Greater New Orleans. He states that awareness and proper training and education regarding mental illness will go a long way in not just alleviating tremendous human suffering but will have a positive impact on the country’s economy.

Arshad M Kaleem MD, who has been certified in forensic psychiatry. He indicates that involvement of mentally ill patients with the criminal system is also costly as well as an economic burden on society. Jails and prisons in the country are filled with patients who have mental illness or have a dual diagnosis with substance abuse disorders. It is not human to incarcerate the mentally ill but also would lighten the burden on the economy. All if they received treatment in the community to avoid incarceration.

Abuse and Economics

Arshad M Kaleem MD addresses the issue of substance abuse and economics. The immense physical effects of drug abuse have long been established.  Addictive disorders have devastating effects on one’s social and emotional well-being. But an often overlooked result of substance abuse is the financial burden inflicted on addicted individuals, their families, and society as a whole. People with these disorders frequently lose employment and productivity and end up needing government assistance or social services. In 2002, the cost of substance, in lost productivity and healthcare was estimated to be almost $180 billion. Also, the cost has substantially increased over the last 15 years. In total, the U.S. economy loses an estimated $185 billion each year to alcohol-related problems, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The cost can include drunk driving costs, medical and social costs, workplace costs and cost of treatment and prevention.

Arshad M Kaleem MD has been closely involved with the care of the elderly and had directed geriatric hospitals and programs in the New Orleans area. He touched on the devastating economic effects of depression in the elderly and dementia including Alzheimer’s Disease.


Dementia dramatically changes the lives of people who live with it. Together with their families, friends, as well as the community. Above all the estimated prevalence of dementia among persons older than 70 years of age in the United States in 2010 was 14.7%. These individual costs suggest that the total monetary cost of dementia in 2010 was between $157 billion and $215 billion; Medicare paid approximately $11 billion of this cost. There are also economic impacts of unpaid caregiving which the elderly with dementia and depression frequently need by family and friends. Above all These caregivers frequently have to leave their jobs or reduce work hours. Also, patients who suffer from dementia consume disproportionately more healthcare resources.

Consequently, Arshad M Kaleem MD has practiced psychiatry in New Orleans area for 30 years and is a strong advocate for proper access to treatment of mental illnesses.