Taking Care of Adults With Schizophrenia Takes Toll on Caregivers

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Caring for an adult with schizophrenia can negatively impact both the mental and physical health of the caregiver.

Caregivers of those with schizophrenia reported worse health outcomes in areas including insomnia and pain compared to caregivers for other medical conditions as well as non-caregivers, as well as increased missed work time, according to data presented at the recent International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research Annual European Congress in Amsterdam.

Data came from the 2013 Kantar National Health and Wellness Survey that included 157 schizophrenia caregivers in five major European countries.

Schizophrenia caregivers went to see a healthcare provider more often (8 visits vs. 5.7 visits per year) compared to non-caregivers. Also, compared to non-caregivers, those caring for an adult with schizophrenia had an increase in missed work (12.4% vs. 5.6% of the times and overall work impairment (35% vs. 20.7%).

This impact on work also led to a financial toll. On average, employed caregivers for adults with schizophrenia were estimated to incur approximately 2,800 Euros more in indirect costs.

In addition, schizophrenia caregivers were found to have higher rates of comorbidities compared to both other caregivers and those who didn’t have any such responsibilities.

“These data demonstrate that people caring for a loved one with schizophrenia are in a particularly vulnerable position, risking their own mental and physical well-being in doing so,” Kevin Jones, Secretary General, European Federation of Associations for Families of People with Mental Illness, said in a statement. “The findings call for better family and social support systems, which may help reduce the burden for carers of adults with schizophrenia.”

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schizophrenia-caregiver-1114news

Data presented at the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research Annual European Congress, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, reveal that caregivers of adults with schizophrenia had consistently worse estimated mental and physical health outcomes than other caregivers and non-caregivers, including significantly more sleep difficulties, insomnia and pain.

The analyses measured the impact of caring for an adult with schizophrenia on the caregivers' physical and mental health, work productivity and activity impairment.

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