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HealthInfo Canterbury

What mental illness can mean for your physical health

People diagnosed with a mental illness or addiction problem tend to have worse physical health than other people.

When you have a mental illness or addiction, some of your lifestyle choices can have major affects on your physical health. So can the medication you may take to help with those mental health issues.

Also, when you're diagnosed with a mental illness, people might assume that some physical symptoms are due to your mental illness, when they really have a separate cause.

If you've been diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, psychosis or serious addiction, you should have at least one physical health check-up with your GP every year.

If you're under specialist community mental health care, they may carry out your physical health check. But you'll need to see your GP if there are any concerns about your physical health.

Your GP can also provide your physical health check. When you make your appointment, ask if your general practice has any funding to partly or fully pay for your check.

On the next page: Keeping physically healthy with a mental illness or addiction

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created December 2017. Last updated October 2018.

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Page reference: 416425

Review key: HIPMH-416421