Physical Health Challenges Affect One in Four Individuals with Schizophrenia or Bipolar Disorder

Physical Health Challenges Affect One in Four Individuals with Schizophrenia or Bipolar Disorder


Lancet Psychiatry published a study report on adults with severe mental problems like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia who are twice as likely to develop multiple physical health problems, for example, diabetes, heart disease etc. than adults without any mental disorders. According to research published in the National Library of Medicine (NIM), ”The presence of multiple physical problems was more common in adults with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder than the presence of multiple psychiatric disorders.”

Read More: What is Schizophrenia?

M.D., of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Sean Halstead, informed, “While health services and treatment guidelines often operate on the assumption that individuals have a single principal diagnosis, these results attest to the clinical complexity many people with severe mental illness face about burden of chronic disease.”

The study was planned and executed by Halstead and colleagues. 82 observational studies of adults with schizophrenia spectrum disorder or bipolar disorder were done to collect data and to assess the prevalence of physical problems comorbid with psychiatric conditions. More than 13 million adults without any psychiatric problem and 1.6 million adults with one of these disorders were assessed.

Among the participants, 25% had two or more physical health problems with several mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and 13% of them had three physical health problems with mental illness. and 14% had two or more psychiatric problems. In the findings, researchers found adults with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia are 2.4 times more vulnerable to developing two or more physical health problems. The rate was higher in adults up to the age of 40 years and younger, who had a 4 times higher risk of developing multiple physical health problems.

According to Halstead and colleagues, a lot of factors and their influences could be the reason for the poor physical health of young adults with severe mental illness like BPD and schizophrenia. Among them most important are biological factors like genetics, prenatal exposures, and lifestyle choices, and sometimes side effects of medicine and other drugs.

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