Metabolic Syndrome in Irish Patients with Treatment Resistant Schizophrenia: Prevalence and Experience of Living with the Condition
Metabolic syndrome has been established as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and diabetes amongst patients with schizophrenia. Few studies have explored the prevalence rates of metabolic syndrome specific to treatment resistant schizophrenia and the experience of living with the condition.
Materials and Methods
A sample of 155 patients with treatment resistant schizophrenia was recruited to participate in this mixed methods study. In component 1 of the study the entire sample of patient participants were assessed using International Diabetes Federation (IDF) criteria for metabolic syndrome. In component 2 of the study 26 patient participants took part in semi-structured interviews which explored their experiences of living with metabolic syndrome. The data from both of the studies components were mixed to determine whether metabolic syndrome status influenced the participants’ experiences of physical health.
All 155 participants met at least one of the IDF criteria for metabolic syndrome whilst 67% met the full criteria. Semi-structured interviews found themes not previously linked with metabolic syndrome: Fear for the future, Shame regarding physical health, Struggle to form and maintain intimate relationships, Control over physical health, Better mental health at a cost to physical health and Psychiatric symptoms as a barrier to physical activity. Low motivation was the only experience that appeared to be directly influenced by metabolic syndrome status.
The prevalence of metabolic syndrome in this sample was similar to that found in other samples of patients with treatment resistant schizophrenia. The findings of the qualitative component are unique and provide new insights into how people with treatment resistant schizophrenia experience physical health. The study established that metabolic syndrome status appeared to influence only one aspect of participants’ experience of physical health and that was their level of motivation