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Uncharted outpatient illnesses.

Hospitalized psychiatric patients have been found to have a surplus of medical problems, and there are now indications that the same is true for psychiatric patients well enough to leave the hospital.

Thomas P. Beresford of the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Memphis and his colleagues conducted standed laboratory tests on 205 patients in a psychiatric outpatient clinic. The patients, all men from poor to middle-income backgrounds, were stabilized and being treated for a variety of long-term psychiatric disorders, including depression and schizophrenia. Almost 28 percent of the sample required a medical referral, report the investigators in the September PSYCHOSOMATICS. Diagnosed illnesses included anemia, hypertension, urinary tract infections, diabetes and lung cancer.

The researchers suspect other groups of stabilized outpatients will show similar results on laboratory tests. It is not known whether physical illness rates are substantially higher among stable outpatients when compared with the general population, they point out, but the possible need for regular laboratory testing to pick up treatable medical illness in psychiatric outpatients "is a matter of significant clinical magnitude and deserves more attention."
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Title Annotation:physical illnesses in psychiatric outpatients
Publication:Science News
Date:Oct 5, 1985
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