The patient who is psychotic
Primary care is often the point of first contact for patients with psychotic symptoms, and the first contact during a relapse or crisis. Identifying and treating schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders is crucial because they are linked to increased morbidity and mortality. This results from the constellation of psychiatric symptoms and comorbid somatic illnesses, including diabetes mellitus, obesity, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, and cardiovascular and pulmonary disease.
These conditions are related to various factors:
- disease-related (e.g., impact of symptoms on help-seeking behaviour)
- lifestyle (e.g., increased rates of smoking, poor diet and inactivity)
- effects of antipsychotic treatment
- reduced access to primary medical care
Primary care providers play a role as part of a multidisciplinary care team and often provide follow-up care once patients are no longer in regular contact with specialist. services.