Metabolic syndrome comprises a number of cardiovascular risk factors that increase morbidity and mortality. The increase in incidence of the syndrome among psychiatric patients has been unanimously demonstrated in recent studies and it has become one of the greatest challenges in psychiatric practice. Besides the use of psychotropic drugs, factors such as genetic polymorphisms, inflammation, endocrinopathies and unhealthy lifestyle contribute to the association between metabolic syndrome and a number of psychiatric disorders. In this article, we review the current diagnostic criteria for metabolic syndrome and propose clinically useful guidelines for psychiatrists to identify and monitor patients who may have the syndrome. We also outline the relationship between metabolic syndrome and individual psychiatric disorders, and discuss advances in pharmacological treatment for the syndrome, such as metformin.
•Be familiar with the definition of metabolic syndrome and its parameters of measurement.
•Appreciate how individual psychiatric disorders contribute to metabolic syndrome and vice versa.
•Develop a framework for the prevention, screening and management of metabolic syndrome in psychiatric patients.