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Community Ment Health J. 1987 Summer;23(2):81-90.

The prevalence and significance of medical illness among chronically mentally ill outpatients.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland 97201.


The prevalence and significance of medical illnesses were examined in a sample of chronically mentally ill patients from an urban community mental health program. Eighty-eight percent had at least one significant medical illness, 51% had at least one previously undiagnosed illness and 53% were judged to be in need of some form of medical attention. The bulk of these illnesses were typical of primary care problems. In terms of causal significance, nearly as many medical illnesses appeared to be the result of the psychiatric disorder (18%) as vice versa (22%). Community mental health programs should make provisions for the medical needs of patients in comprehensive management programs.

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