The Association of Medical Comorbidity in Schizophrenia with Poor Physical and Mental Health

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Abstract

This study determined the prevalence of medical comorbidities in a cohort of persons receiving treatment for schizophrenia and the association of medical comorbidity with physical and mental health status. A total of 719 persons with schizophrenia sampled from a variety of community and treatment settings as part of the schizophrenia Patient Outcomes Research Team (PORT) participated in a survey interview. Multiple regression analyses were used to assess sociodemographic factors associated with the number of current medical comorbidities and the association of medical comorbidity count with patient ratings of physical health, mental health, symptoms, and quality of life. The majority of patients reported at least one medical problem. Problems with eyesight, teeth, and high blood pressure were most common. A greater number of current medical problems independently contributed to worse perceived physical health status, more severe psychosis and depression, and greater likelihood of a history of a suicide attempt. This study underscores the need to attend to somatic health care for persons with schizophrenia as well as the linkage of physical and mental health status.

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