Overview of Managing Medical Comorbidities in Patients With Severe Mental Illness




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Patients with severe mental disorders have increased mortality rates compared with the general population. The leading cause of death for individuals with psychotic illnesses or bipolar disorder is cardiovascular disease (CVD), which is often the result of patients’ health problems associated with their psychiatric disorders, including, but not limited to, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. Such problems occur more often and have worse outcomes in patients with serious mental illness than the general population because of a combination of factors such as inadequate access to quality care, poor lifestyle choices, and the association between some antipsychotic medications and weight gain. Coordinated somatic and psychiatric treatment, weight-neutral or weight-reducing pharmaceuticals, and behavioral weight management programs may help lessen the burden of CVD in the mental health population.

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J Clin Psychiatry 2009;70(6):e17