Psychosis and Physical Comorbidity

  • Mary V. SeemanEmail author
Reference work entry
Part of the Mental Health and Illness Worldwide book series (MHIW)


The life expectancy of men and women who suffer from psychotic illnesses is substantially shorter than that of the general population, with 90% of deaths attributable to the sequelae of physical illness. Suicide, accidents, and homicide account for the remaining 10%. Many of the responsible physical illnesses are brought on by heavy smoking, drinking, and lack of activity in the lives of individuals with psychosis. Some of the comorbidity may arise from psychotic illnesses sharing susceptibility genes with seemingly unrelated physical illnesses. Many diseases result from the adverse effects of antipsychotic treatment. It is also reported that the high mortality is due, to some degree, to delays in diagnosis and treatment for which physician stigmatization of mental illness is partially to blame. In many of the comorbid conditions, men and women are unequally affected. This chapter reviews the physical illnesses that complicate the lives of individuals with psychosis and suggests that the responsibility for preventing them is shared among patients, healthcare providers, and health systems. New ways of approaching this escalating problem are urgently needed.


Schizophrenia Comorbidity Antipsychotics Prevention Integrated care 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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