A new study has been published BMJ Mental Health found that people with severe mental illness were nearly twice as likely to report physical comorbidities, emphasizing the critical importance of addressing the intersection between mental and physical health.
The research, led by Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) in collaboration with the Biomedical Research Center at the University of Cambridge, involved a comprehensive analysis of 19 different studies, including data from 194,123 psychiatric patients worldwide, including 7,660,590 control individuals. .
Multimorbidity is when a person suffers from a combination of at least one other physical health chronic disease, and researchers found that psychiatric patients were 1.84 times more likely to report multimorbidity than the control group.
Studies have shown that people with severe mental health problems also report physical conditions, including metabolic disorders, hypertension, epilepsy, respiratory, vascular, kidney and gastrointestinal diseases, as well as cancer.
As of 2019, nearly one billion people were living with a mental disorder, making it a leading cause of disability worldwide. According to Mind, one in four people in England will experience some form of mental health problem each year.
Previous studies have shown that a large percentage of people in need of mental health services do not have access to effective, affordable and quality mental health care, particularly in low-income countries. For example, 71% of people with psychosis worldwide do not receive needed mental health services, with huge disparities between high-income and low-income countries.
Mental health is based on our individual and collective abilities to make decisions, form relationships and shape the world in which we live. Our study suggests that people with severe mental illness are at greater risk of experiencing physical multimorbidity.
This complex relationship between serious mental illness and physical multimorbidity has far-reaching implications, including reduced treatment compliance, risk of treatment failure, increased treatment costs, disease recurrence, worsening disease prognosis, and reduced life expectancy.
Poor clinical management of sexual intercourse in people with mental disorders exacerbates the problem, increasing the burden on individuals, their communities, and the health care system. A holistic approach is urgently needed to improve the physical, psychological, and social outcomes of individuals dealing with severe mental illness and physical comorbidity.”
Lee Smith, Lead author, Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) professor of public health.
Pizzle, D., etc. (2023). The relationship between serious mental illness and physical multimorbidity: a meta-analysis and call to action. BMJ Mental Health. doi.org/10.1136/bmjment-2023-300870