Open J Psychiatry Allied Sci. 2019 Jul 9. [Epub ahead of print]

Physical illnesses among psychiatric inpatients in a tertiary care setup.

Uday B, Niranjan V.


Background: Rates of undiagnosed and untreated medical illnesses are higher in individuals with severe mental illness, compared to the general population. These comorbid medical illnesses result in poorer outcomes, greater severity of symptoms, increased incidence of non-compliance, increased length of stay, increased mortality and healthcare costs. There is a paucity of literature concerning the prevalence of physical illnesses in psychiatric patients from India. Objective: To study the nature and prevalence of physical illnesses in psychiatry inpatients in a tertiary care psychiatry setup. Materials and methods: Consecutively admitted inpatients from the psychiatry ward of a tertiary care centre were recruited for study for six months duration. Detailed general physical examination, systemic examination, and various laboratory investigations were done. Referrals were sought from the respective medical or surgical departments for evaluation. Diagnosis of physical illnesses was validated by the consultant physician. The data were compiled on semi-structured proforma and analysed by using descriptive statistical methods. Results: Seventy per cent patients were found to have associated physical illnesses. Metabolic disorders were present among 28.9% patients followed by endocrinal (25.6%), haematological (18.3%), gastrointestinal (15%), cardiovascular (12.2%), neurological (9.4%), and stomatognathic disorders (8.3%). Conclusion: Index study reports a high prevalence of medical comorbidity in the psychiatric inpatients. There is an urgent need for further research and sensitisation of mental health professionals about recognising the medical comorbidities and their prompt treatment via liaison with physicians and other medical staff.


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