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First-of-Its-Kind National Online Survey Uncovers Obstacles to Comprehensive Healthcare for People With Schizophrenia
Date:1/29/2008

f the general population.

Key survey findings include:

-- While many psychiatrists report asking or discussing general health issues with their patients, 83% of psychiatrists cited lack of time during patient visits as the main obstacle to providing overall care; 74% feel they are not as well equipped to address the patient's overall health as are primary care physicians.

-- 82% of consumer respondents feel that treatment of their overall health - not just their mental illness - is important to their recovery. Yet nearly half expect their psychiatrist to focus exclusively on their mental health (48%), rather than overall and mental health.

Medication Side Effects

The survey also points to significant concerns about medication side effects. Experts suggest that some commonly-used mental health medications, namely second generation atypical anti-psychotics, which are associated with weight gain and other side effects, may be putting people with schizophrenia at much greater risk for obesity and diabetes. The survey found that:

-- 69% of people with schizophrenia reported that they have discontinued use of medication due to side effects that negatively impacted their quality of life. Almost 40% of consumers reported that the longest they had continuously remained on one medication was less than a year.

-- When choosing from a list of side effects considered when prescribing antipsychotic medication, diabetes was most often cited by prescribers, with 94% of psychiatrists considering it "extremely" or "quite" important.

"When people with schizophrenia stop their medications, their mental health is jeopardized and they are not able to take the best care of themselves," said Joseph Parks, M.D., president of the Medical Director's Council of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors. "As psychiatrists, every one of us must redouble our efforts to protect the health and promote the well
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SOURCE Mental Health America of San Diego
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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