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Physical and psychiatric co-morbidity 

Physical and psychiatric co-morbidity
Physical and psychiatric co-morbidity

Niels Okkels

, Christina Blanner Kristiansen

, and Povl Munk-Jørgensen

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date: 26 January 2022

This chapter explains the concept of co-morbidity and why it is important. The high prevalence of physical illness in psychiatric patients contributes to an increased mortality compared with the general population, particularly from diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. The management of patients with co-morbidities is a great challenge to modern medicine: our healthcare systems are fragmented by specialization, clinical trials exclude patients with co-morbidities, and health professionals lack training in common issues related to co-morbidity, such as polypharmacy. To overcome the mortality gap between psychiatric patients and the general population we must rethink our healthcare systems, medical education, and public mental health interventions. To help patients with co-morbid illnesses, we must have a holistic approach that includes the patients’ needs and goals in a collaborative effort across health professions.

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