Comorbidity of Somatic Illnesses on People With Treated Mental Disorders – A New Challenge in Medicine

  • Romana Marušić Department of Internal Medicine, National memorial hospital Vukovar, Croatia; School of Medicine, J.J. Strossmayer University, Osijek, Croatia
  • Adriana Levaković Faculty of Medicine, Josip Juraj Strossmayer University, Osijek, Croatia
  • Dunja Degmečić Faculty of Medicine, Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek, Osijek, Croatia; Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital Centre, Osijek, Croatia
  • Tatjana Bačun* Faculty of Medicine, Josip Juraj Strossmayer University, Osijek, Croatia; Division of Endocrinology, Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital Centre, Osijek, Croatia


Aim: Comorbidities pose a major challenge for 21st century medicine. The mutual pathophysiological effect of one disease on another can significantly affect their course and prognosis. The aims of this study were to examine the frequency of comorbidities and the most common psychiatric and somatic comorbidities and to determine the difference in the incidence of certain diseases by gender and age.

Methods: Data were recorded in several groups: demographic characteristics, psychiatric and somatic diagnoses classified according to gender, age, and the legally determined ability to work, and correlations of somatic and psychiatric diagnoses.

Results: The most common psychiatric diagnoses in men were post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (25%) and alcoholism (23%), while in women these were recurrent depressive disorder (19%) and psychosis (10%). A statistically significant difference was found in the incidence of alcoholism and PTSD, which are more common in men than in women. The most common somatic diseases in both sexes were arterial hypertension (M = 33%, F = 46%) and diabetes mellitus (M = 18%, F = 32%). Statistically significant differences were found in the frequency of hypertension (p = 0.03) and epilepsy (p = 0.002), which are more common in men. The ratio alcoholism-hypertension (p = 0.03), alcoholism-diabetes (p < 0.0001), alcoholism-COPD (p < 0.001) was statistically significant.

Conclusion: It is extremely important to improve the multidisciplinary approach and cooperation in treatment in order to reduce the number of hospitalizations, emergency interventions and suicides and to improve the patients’ quality of life and life expectancy.