Medical Co-morbidities Among Patients with Severe Mental Illnesses in a Community Health Facility in Nigeria
To examine prevalence of medical comorbidity (MCM) in schizophrenia (n = 1310) and in bipolar disorder (n = 1307) and the association of high burden of MCM (≥3 MCM) with duration of untreated illness, number of episodes, functioning, poly-medication and lifetime hospitalization for the mental disorder. Participants were recruited from a private psychiatric facility in Ibadan, Nigeria between 2004 and 2013 and enquiry made about the lifetime occurrence of 20 common chronic diseases including common tropical diseases. Psychiatric diagnosis was made using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM IV Axis I disorder (SCID). Except for nutritional anemia, dermatitis and intestinal Helminthiasis, patients with schizophrenia were not at higher odds of reporting MCM than those with bipolar disorder. DUI ≥2 years, episodes of illness ≥3, being on multiple neuroleptics and history of previous hospitalization were significantly associated with high burden of MCM in schizophrenia and episodes of illness ≥3, reduced functioning and history of previous hospitalization with bipolar disorder. Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are associated with high rates of medical comorbidity. Treatment of this medical comorbidity is essential in order to improve the outcomes for patients with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
KeywordsSchizophrenia Bipolar disorder Infections Nutritional anaemia Medical-co-morbidity
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