Prevalence of physical comorbidities among long-term psychiatric inpatients: A single centre study from South India

  • V Narmadha Institute of Mental Health, Madras Medical College
  • A Akshaya Schizophrenia Research Foundation
  • Vijaya Raghavan (SCARF) Schizophrenia Care and Research Foundation
  • P Poornachandrika
Keywords: mental illness, physical disorders, comorbidities, diabetes, hypertension


Background: Physical comorbidities are the most common causes of early mortality among patients with mental disorders. Prevention and early treatment of physical comorbidities would lead to better outcomes. Hence, the aim to the study estimate the prevalence of physical health disorders present as comorbidities among long-term stay psychiatric inpatients and to examine the difference in the physical comorbidities among male and female patients.

Materials and methods: The study was conducted at Institute of Mental Health, Madras Medical College, Chennai. It was a quantitative, descriptive study combining data from clinical files and nursing records related to the physical health of the long-term inpatients. The clinical records of the patients who were long-term psychiatric inpatients, defined as the duration of stay in the care facility for more than 5 continuous years, were accessed between 1 January and 30 June 2019. The statistical analysis was done using SPSS 16.0.

Results: The estimated prevalence was 74.2% (95% CI: 69.5-78.6) for at least one physical disorder comorbidity and 38.8% (95% CI: 33.8-43.9) had more than one physical comorbidity. Female in-patients have 2.7 times higher risk than males to have diabetes mellitus, hypertension and thyroid disorders. They also have 0.92 times higher risk than males to have anaemia.

Conclusion: There is a high prevalence of physical comorbidities among long term psychiatric inpatients. Systems for the early detection and better clinical management of these physical comorbidities are essential in any long-term psychiatric facility.