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People with psychosis experience cardiometabolic comorbidities, including metabolic syndrome, coronary heart disease and diabetes. These physical comorbidities have been linked to diet, inactivity and the effects of the illness itself, including disorganisation, impairments in global function and amotivation associated with negative symptoms of schizophrenia or co-morbid depression.
We aimed to describe the dietary intake, physical activity (PA) and sedentary behaviour patterns of a sample of patients with established psychosis participating in the Improving Physical Health and Reducing Substance Use in Severe Mental Illness (IMPaCT) randomised controlled trial, and to explore the relationship between these lifestyle factors and mental health symptomatology.
A majority of participants had poor dietary quality, low in fruit and vegetables and high in discretionary foods. Only 29.3% completed ⩾150 min of moderate and/or vigorous activity per week and 72.2% spent ⩾6 h per day sitting. Cross-sectional associations between negative symptoms, global function, and PA and sedentary behaviour were observed. Additionally, those with more negative symptoms receiving IMPaCT therapy had fewer positive changes in PA from baseline to 12-month follow-up than those with fewer negative symptoms at baseline.
These results highlight the need for the development of multidisciplinary lifestyle and exercise interventions to target eating habits, PA and sedentary behaviour, and the need for further research on how to adapt lifestyle interventions to baseline mental status. Negative symptoms in particular may reduce patient's responses to lifestyle interventions.
The first episode of psychosis is a critical period in the emergence of cardiometabolic risk.
We set out to explore the influence of individual and lifestyle factors on cardiometabolic outcomes in early psychosis.
This was a prospective cohort study of 293 UK adults presenting with first-episode psychosis investigating the influence of sociodemographics, lifestyle (physical activity, sedentary behaviour, nutrition, smoking, alcohol, substance use) and medication on cardiometabolic outcomes over the following 12 months.
Rates of obesity and glucose dysregulation rose from 17.8% and 12%, respectively, at baseline to 23.7% and 23.7% at 1 year. Little change was seen over time in the 76.8% tobacco smoking rate or the quarter who were sedentary for over 10 h daily. We found no association between lifestyle at baseline or type of antipsychotic medication prescribed with either baseline or 1-year cardiometabolic outcomes. Median haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) rose by 3.3 mmol/mol in participants from Black and minority ethnic (BME) groups, with little change observed in their White counterparts. At 12 months, one-third of those with BME heritage exceeded the threshold for prediabetes (HbA1c >39 mmol/mol).
Unhealthy lifestyle choices are prevalent in early psychosis and cardiometabolic risk worsens over the next year, creating an important window for prevention. We found no evidence, however, that preventative strategies should be preferentially directed based on lifestyle habits. Further work is needed to determine whether clinical strategies should allow for differential patterns of emergence of cardiometabolic risk in people of different ethnicities.
Cannabis and its main psychoactive ingredient δ-9-tetrahydrocannibidiol (THC) can induce transient psychotic symptoms in healthy individuals and exacerbate them in those with established psychosis. However, not everyone experience these effects, suggesting that certain individuals are particularly susceptible. The neural basis of this sensitivity to the psychotomimetic effects of THC is unclear.
We investigated whether individuals who are sensitive to the psychotomimetic effects of THC (TP) under experimental conditions would show differential hippocampal activation compared with those who are not (NP). We studied 36 healthy males under identical conditions under the influence of placebo or THC (10 mg) given orally, on two separate occasions, in a pseudo-randomized, double-blind, repeated measures, within-subject, cross-over design, using psychopathological assessments and functional MRI while they performed a verbal learning task. They were classified into those who experienced transient psychotic symptoms (TP; n = 14) following THC administration and those who did not (NP; n = 22).
Under placebo conditions, there was significantly greater engagement of the left hippocampus (p < 0.001) in the TP group compared with the NP group during verbal encoding, which survived leave-one-out analysis. The level of hippocampal activation was directly correlated (Spearman's ρ = 0.44, p = 0.008) with the severity of transient psychotic symptoms induced by THC. This difference was not present when we compared two subgroups from the same sample that were defined by sensitivity to anxiogenic effects of THC.
These results suggest that altered hippocampal activation during verbal encoding may serve as a marker of sensitivity to the acute psychotomimetic effects of THC.
Nearly half of people with severe mental illness use cannabis sometime in their lives and during their illness. Its use can have multiple and severe consequences for the course of the illness. Despite the significance of the problem, managing cannabis use in this group is a recently developing topic and is still in its infancy. This article reviews the current state of knowledge on the management of people with severe mental illness who continue to use cannabis, specifically focusing on different models of service provision, and psychological and pharmacological interventions.
Cannabis use is more common among people with severe mental illness than in the general population. It has detrimental effects on the course of the illness, physical health and social life of users, as well as being a financial burden on health services. It is important to understand why some people with severe mental illness continue to use cannabis, despite experiencing its effects on their condition. This article reviews research on the scale of cannabis use by such patients, the effects on the course of their illness, possible reasons to explain why they use it, and how they can be assessed in clinical settings, as well as providing some assessment tools to measure various characteristics related to cannabis use.
Zerrin Atakan, Lead Consultant psychiatrist/Hon Senior Lecturer, National Psychosis Unit, Maudsley and Bethlem Royal Hospitals, Denmark Hill, London, UK,
Venugopal Duddu, Consultant Psychiatrist, Avondale Unit, Royal Preston Hospital, Preston, UK
Mental health workers are increasingly faced with patients who not only suffer from a severe mental illness, but also have a number of additional problems, which further complicate their treatment and management. This is especially so in urban inner city areas. Very often, the treatment of the mental illness alone is not sufficient and resources focused specifically to their needs are scarce or non-existent.
Such patients are often admitted to psychiatric intensive care or acute inpatient units due to their disturbed behaviour. Their management often tends to be problematic and incomplete, and unless attention is paid to meet their specific needs, a ‘revolving door’ phenomenon is a likely outcome. In Psychiatric Intensive Care Units (PICU), patients with complex needs are often those who cannot be transferred out or discharged within 8 weeks, either because their symptoms are resistant to treatment, or there are other needs that have not been adequately addressed. They display frequent verbal or physical violence and often find ingenious methods of abusing drugs, even in very carefully controlled ward environments.
We will attempt, in this chapter, to define the ‘complex needs patient’ and examine the commonly encountered diagnoses and additional problems (with reference to their possible aetiological factors) in such a patient. Finally, we will examine how such patients can be treated and managed.
There has been a growing and justified interest in co-morbid severe mental illness and substance abuse over recent years, due to its high prevalence and significant impact on clinical and social problems, as well as the heavy burden laid on the health services. The annual health and social costs of misuse of alcohol and illegal substances in England and Wales are each estimated to be nearly £20 billion amongst people aged under 45 (Williams et al. 2005). The great majority of such patients are admitted to Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) settings and their management can cause considerable difficulties, especially where there are no adequate evidence-based treatment models designed for inpatients.
The interaction between a psychotic illness and the use of substances is complex and is known to have major detrimental effects on the course of the illness, risk of violence, outcome, physical health complications and even possibly aetiology. In this chapter, these complex interactions will be examined and some management strategies will be discussed.
As mentioned in Chapter 10 on complex needs patients, substance use is one of the main characteristics of this group. Even though most of the studies in this area originate from the USA, the prevalance of substance abuse amongst the severely mentally ill is also known to be high in the UK where the estimated prevalence ranges between 20% and 60% (Miles et al. 2003). In PICU settings the average prevalence can be as high as 85% percent (Isaac et al. 2005).
There is an increasing body of research literature investigating the effects of parental mental illness on children. This study investigates the views of psychiatric in-patients on consequences of their admission to hospital and their mental illness for their children. The results suggest that the parents do not readily acknowledge that their children have problems, and that interventional approaches require good liaison between adult mental health services and child-focused agencies.
Although the principles behind the care programme approach have generally been welcomed, its implementation has at best been patchy and at worst a complete failure. The principles behind supervision registers have not been welcomed by most psychiatrists. This paper presents a practical solution to the major problems associated with the implementation of the care programme approach and supervision registers by defining pragmatic criteria for inclusion on these registers and the services which should be provided to registered patients. This solution was agreed between purchasers and providers following a series of consultative meetings and this is a process which must be recommended.
The Psychological Impairments Rating Schedule (PIRS) was originally designed by the WHO (Jablensky, 1978; see also Biehl et al this volume) and was used as a supplement to the Present State Examination (PSE) (Wing et al, 1974) in a number of collaborative WHO studies. It was mainly designed for assessing selected areas of psychological and behavioural impairments (or deficits) in patients who have suffered, or are suffering, from functional psychotic disorders. It comprised items and scales for rating observed behaviour and was filled in immediately or soon after a psychiatric or PSE interview. Raters were encouraged to take note of a subject's current behaviour and function both before and after the interview proper. The first two sections of PIRS included all behavioural items of PSE (ninth edition). Sections 18–20 as well as a number of items taken from other psychopathological rating scales and items formulated de novo.
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