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Keywords:

  • Psychotic symptoms;
  • physical health;
  • medical conditions;
  • access to health care;
  • multinational study

This study explored whether physical health problems are related to psychotic symptoms independently of a mental disorder diagnosis. A total of 224,254 subjects recruited for the World Health Organization World Health Survey were subdivided into those with both a lifetime diagnosis of psychosis and at least one psychotic symptom in the 12 months prior to the evaluation, those with at least one psychotic symptom in the past 12 months but no lifetime diagnosis of psychosis, and those without psychotic symptoms in the past 12 months and without a lifetime diagnosis of psychosis. The three groups were compared for the presence of medical conditions, health problems, and access to health care. Medical conditions and health problems (angina, asthma, arthritis, tuberculosis, vision or hearing problems, mouth/teeth problems, alcohol consumption, smoking, and accidents), medication consumption, and hospital admissions (but not regular health care visits) were more frequent in individuals with psychotic symptoms but no psychosis diagnosis, compared to those with no symptoms and no diagnosis. The number of medical conditions increased with the number of psychotic symptoms. Given the sample analyzed, this trend seems to be independent from the socio-economic development of the country or the specific health care system.