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Relationship Problems Under Treated for Individuals with Psychosis

Two recent studies suggest psychosexual disorders and relationship problems are often not assessed or treated in people with psychoses.

The finding comes despite previous research that found high levels of sexual dysfunction amongst psychiatric in-patients, and patients living in the community, who have psychotic disorders.

The British studies suggest a strong need to provide services for this vulnerable group of people.

The first study surveyed 39 men and 17 women who had been admitted to the acute psychiatric wards of an inner London psychiatric unit. The patients were seen within 7 days of their admission, and were interviewed about existing sexual and relationship problems.

The admissions consisted largely of single men with schizophrenia, and married or cohabiting women with affective disorders (such as depression).

Of the men, 62 percent of those with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, between 63 -75 percent of those with affective disorders, and 17 percent of those with other diagnoses reported current sexual or relationship problems.

Of the women, 25 percent of those with schizophrenia, 50-100 percent of those with affective disorders, and 25 percent with other diagnoses reported a sexual or relationship problem.

The second study assessed people with severe, persistent psychoses who were under the care of a single community team.

Amongst the 40 men interviewed, sexual difficulties were reported by 47.5 percent. Of the 13 women assessed, 30.8 percent reported sexual problems.

82.5 percent of the men, and 38.5 percent of the women in this study were not in intimate relationships. 42.5 percent of the men, and 38.5 percent of the women had never had a sexual relationship.

The researchers conclude that the high levels of sexual and relationship problems among psychiatric in-patients shows that such matters should be assessed, and therapeutic interventions should be considered, at the time of hospital admission.

Amongst patients with severe psychoses living in the community, there is a high degree of unmet need for specific interventions, including assessment, talking treatments and medication. This warrants evaluation of service structures, and the development of treatment packages, tailored for this group of people.

Overall, clinical services and future research should consider the sexual and relationship needs of people with severe psychoses.

Source: The Royal College of Psychiatrists

Relationship Problems Under Treated for Individuals with Psychosis

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Relationship Problems Under Treated for Individuals with Psychosis. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 21, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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