June 29, 2005

Neglect of Physical Health & Schizophrenia


When a person is diagnosed with a brain disorder, often, their physical health is overlooked. This can have severe negative consequences: A new report discusses the increased risk of death associated with brain disorders. It seems that people suffering from brain disorders "are three times more likely to die early than the general population..." The report claims that a major contributor of this shortened life span is the "neglect of physical health" among people suffering from brain disorders. Shockingly, this neglect has shortened the life expectancy of the psychiatrically disabled by 15 years.

The 'Running on Empty' report, contributed to by 20 high profile charities, professional groups and experts, highlights the devastating impact neglect of physical health can have. It is calling for action to improve physical care for the (psychiatrically disabled) to save lives. The report warns that the tendency to dismiss and neglect the physical health of people with severe (psychiatric disabilities) is having a fatal effect. Sufferers run a much higher risk of developing a whole host of potentially fatal ailments. These include heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer and HIVAids. A survey carried out for the report shows that 86% of patients said they had not received the record taken of their health history. A further 78% had not been offered a blood sugar test despite the known connection between schizophrenia, anti-psychotic drugs and diabetes.

Contributors to the report are urging healthcare professionals to perform a complete "physical check-up" each time they see a patient suffering from a brain disorder. It's important to remember that people who suffer from brain disorders still have - in addition to their psychiatric disabilities - their physical health to care for.



I have never been told by my therapist nor my doctor about the connection with antipsychotic drugs, obesity and diabetes. Is this a new discovery or is my help being non caring?

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