The Link Between Schizophrenia And Chronic Physical Conditions

The Link Between Schizophrenia And Chronic Physical Conditions

Mental Illnesses 0 Comment

Mental Disorders- Schizophrenia

Mental healthcare provision is often separated from that of physical health as its part of the industry. This is great for those looking for specialist care from psychiatric experts in mental illness.

However, there is also a strong relationship between mental disorders and chronic physical conditions. The origin of psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, can correlate with increased risks in other areas. The following areas are all of the major concern for anyone suffering from these issues.

Cardiac Disorders And High Blood Pressure

The issue of the development of heart problems and high blood pressure comes in two different forms. This is why it is one of the most important problems for specialists to promote to those who have the mental illness. First, there is the link between stress hormones and high blood pressure. Cortisol and adrenaline can spike during periods of stress and anxiety.

High Blood Pressure

Those with severe anxiety disorders, or those struggling to come with other mental health issues, could see a big increase. Second, there is also the problem that antipsychotic medication can lead to the development of an abnormal heart rhythm. Untreated, this could lead to some serious problems in heart health.

Chronic Respiratory Problems

There has long been a correlation between smoking and mental health disorders. The mental illness won’t directly cause breathing problems, but associated behaviors will.

Many sufferers, particularly with schizophrenia, are increasingly drawn to smoking tobacco products. Many view this as a great way to relieve symptoms, improve social situations and lessen the impact of the illness.

The problem here is that these elevated smoking rates can lead to an increased risk of developing severe respiratory issues. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis and asthma are all major risks in this situation.



As we saw with stress and blood pressure, mental illness issues and psychiatric disturbances in the brain can have a physical effect. There is a big impact on hormones and the regulation of bodily functions when mental health is weak. Another important issue here is the regulation of insulin and the knock-on effect on the development of diabetes.

 This is a severe risk in people with depression and schizophrenia because they can alter the body’s resistance to the substance. There is also the secondary issue that people with these disorders can put on weight and have bad diets. This leads to obesity and high cholesterol levels, which in turn leads to a higher risk of diabetes.


This is an area where the causation between mental illness and physical conditions needs to be better understood. The link between schizophrenia and arthritis is not as obvious as something like bronchitis. However, there are concerns that there is a genetic link to work here.

Also, side effects of medication for psychotic disorders and sedentary lifestyles of the stigmatized can play their part. It is also believed that that link may be stronger than we first suspect. This is because pain relief drugs and other effects could mask joint pain.


The last of these chronic physical conditions is one that may not come as a surprise given its rapid rise. There are all kinds of risk factors for the development of cancer. Now it seems that this risk is also surprisingly high in patients with schizophrenia. It appears that schizophrenia patients are twice as likely to developed cancer of the bowel or gallbladder. This could be due to other issues, such as poor diet, but researcher needs to carry out further studies.

The Indirect Links Between Mental Illness And Chronic Physical Disorders

In many cases, it is not the psychiatric disorder or the stress or anxiety that is causing the physical condition. This is true when there is a release of hormones or an imbalance in a system, such as diabetes and cardiac issues.

However, there are many cases where the secondary issues of mental health are to blame. Poor activity levels, smoking, bad diets and other lifestyle changes can play their part.

That is why it is so important that people with mental illnesses, like schizophrenia, get the support they need. There are still too many barriers preventing healthcare in the mentally ill.

They are finances, accessibility, and social stigma. The more that we shut out the mentally ill, the less likely that doctors can detect and treat problems.

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