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Schizophr Res. 2011 Nov;132(2-3):190-3. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2011.07.033. Epub 2011 Aug 17.

Accuracy of self-reported medical problems in patients with alcohol dependence and co-occurring schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.

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Department of Psychiatry, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY 13210, United States.



Schizophrenia and alcohol dependence (AD) are both major risk factors for a variety of medical problems, yet little is known about the medical status of patients in whom both conditions coexist.


The objectives of this study are to assess accuracy of self-reported medical problems and to compare the accuracy reports in patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and co-occurring AD compared to patients with AD only and to controls. Our hypothesis was that medical problems are under-reported in patients with co-occurring disorders, possibly due to the combination of alcohol use and symptoms of schizophrenia.


Self-reported medical diagnoses were recorded and compared to medical records obtained from all area hospitals in 42 patients with schizophrenia and AD, 44 patients with schizoaffective disorder and AD, 41 patients with AD only, and 15 control subjects. Patients underwent medical history, physical examination, and review of medical records.


Patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and co-occurring AD underreported their medical problems significantly more than patients with AD only and controls. Accuracy of self report was significantly lower in patients with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders plus co-occurring alcohol dependence than in AD alone or in controls. The most commonly underreported diagnoses included coronary artery disease, chronic renal failure, seizure disorder, hyperlipidemia, asthma and hypertension.


In order to detect potentially unreported medical conditions in patients with co-occurring schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder and alcohol dependence, the use of targeted screening questionnaires is recommended in addition to physical examination and thorough review of medical records.

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