Physical Illness and Medical Needs of Women with Mental Disorders

  • Mary Jo Larson
  • Sarah McGraw


This chapter discusses the importance of providing effective treatment for physical or somatic conditions that co-occur among women with serious mental disorders. Providing high-quality healthcare for women with multimorbidities (e.g., a combination of several chronic mental and somatic conditions) may be particularly challenging for a number of reasons related to numerous risk factors, lifestyle issues, active symptoms of the patients, difficult interactions between unsupported or inadequately trained medical providers and patients, and inadequacies built into a fragmented healthcare system. Even though there is a higher disease burden and treatment need among women with mental disorders compared to other women, too little is known about why these factors lead to premature death, high rates of disability, and undertreatment of somatic conditions. This chapter identifies the most common somatic conditions among women with mental disorders and focuses on several opportunities for care improvement linked to appropriate and timely detection and care of physical health problems for women with serious mental health disorders. As co-occurrence of multiple problems may be the rule, not the exception, there is a need for effective comprehensive treatment models.


Placebo Obesity Arthritis Hepatitis Depression 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Jo Larson
    • 1
  • Sarah McGraw
  1. 1.Institute for Behavioral Health, Schneider Institutes for Health PolicyBrandeis UniversityWalthamUSA

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