Thursday, September 15, 2016

Addressing Psychosocial Variables May Improve Care for Patients With Mental Illness, Diabetes

There is limited research on how to best match medically complex patients who have serious mental illness with the right treatments. A study published today in Psychiatric Services in Advance describes how considering psychosocial variables such as a patient’s social support, self-efficacy, and attitude regarding possible treatment outcomes could help to guide care for patients with serious mental illness and diabetes.

Researchers from the Case Western University School of Medicine analyzed baseline data from 200 individuals with serious mental illness (including schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, or major depression) and comorbid diabetes involved in a study comparing a self-management intervention versus treatment as usual. As part of the trial, participants were asked questions about their symptoms as well as their perception of social support, perception of their ability to manage their conditions, and outcome expectancy related to treatment.

The analysis revealed two conceptually distinct subgroups of patients within the study. Patients with the most severe depression had “less confidence that they could manage both their psychiatric illness and diabetes, had lower expectations for treatment, and had lower perceived social support. This group scored significantly worse on measures of psychiatric symptom severity, general functioning, and diabetes control compared with the other group,” according to the authors.

“Consideration of all of these factors can personalize care for specific challenges and strengths among patients with comorbid serious mental illness and diabetes and may inform treatment approaches that can advance care for this vulnerable group of individuals,” they concluded.

For related information, see the Psychiatric News article “Bipolar Patients More Likely to Take Medications for Comorbid Conditions.”



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