Psychosis prevalence and physical, metabolic and cognitive co-morbidity: data from the second Australian national survey of psychosis

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Abstract

Background

There are insufficient data from nationwide surveys on the prevalence of specific psychotic disorders and associated co-morbidities.

Method

The 2010 Australian national psychosis survey used a two-phase design to draw a representative sample of adults aged 18–64 years with psychotic disorders in contact with public treatment services from an estimated resident population of 1464923 adults. This paper is based on data from 1642 participants with an International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-10 psychotic disorder. Its aim is to present estimates of treated prevalence and lifetime morbid risk of psychosis, and to describe the cognitive, physical health and substance use profiles of participants.

Results

The 1-month treated prevalence of psychotic disorders was 3.10 cases per 1000 population aged 18–64 years, not accounting for people solely accessing primary care services; lifetime morbid risk was 3.45 per 1000. Mean premorbid intelligence quotient was approximately 0.5 S.D.S below the population mean; current cognitive ability (measured with a digit symbol coding task) was 1.6 S.D.S below the population mean. For both cognitive tests, higher scores were significantly associated with better independent functioning. The prevalence of the metabolic syndrome was high, affecting 60.8% of participants, and pervasive across diagnostic groups. Of the participants, two-thirds (65.9%) were current smokers, 47.4% were obese and 32.4% were sedentary. Of the participants, half (49.8%) had a lifetime history of alcohol abuse/dependence and 50.8% lifetime cannabis abuse/dependence.

Conclusions

Our findings highlight the need for comprehensive, integrative models of recovery to maximize the potential for good health and quality of life for people with psychotic illness.

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