Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Physical Ailments Hamper Patients' Reintegration: Schizophrenia, Mood Disorders

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Physical Ailments Hamper Patients' Reintegration: Schizophrenia, Mood Disorders

Article excerpt

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Patients with chronic mental illness have a demonstrably high rate of comorbid physical disorders and social problems that if left untreated are likely to seriously interfere with reintegration into the community, Dr. Harry B. Burke reported at the annual meeting of the Society of General Internal Medicine.

In the past, institutionalized patients would routinely undergo assessment and treatment of comorbid physical and social disorders during their lengthy stays in psychiatric facilities.

That doesn't occur in the current era of deinstitutionalization, observed Dr. Burke of George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

Considerable research exists on the rate of mental disorders in patients with physical illness, but less is known about the rates of physical and social disorders in psychiatric patients.

In an effort to redress this deficiency, Dr. Burke and his coinvestigators assessed the prevalence of physical disorders and social problems in all 7,272 individuals enrolled in the District of Columbia's community mental health system during 2001. The study population was 83% African American and 51% female. …

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