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NICE says people with schizophrenia should be given help to exercise, eat well and stop smoking

18 February 2014 - 12:14pm

Physical activity should be part of a package of treatment offered to people with psychosis or schizophrenia, according to updated guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

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Physiotherapy mental health network president Catherine Pope (above): 'It is really positive that NICE has recognised the poorer physical health suffered by people with mental health problems.'

The CSP has welcomed the publication of Psychosis and schizophrenia in adults: treatment and management (NICE clinical guideline 178), which updates and replaces the organisation’s previous guideline on schizophrenia (CG82).

The guideline applies to England and Wales and covers the treatment and management of psychosis, schizophrenia and related disorders in adults, which has started before someone reaches 60.

Its recommendations include that people with psychosis or schizophrenia should be offered:

  • a combined healthy eating and physical activity programme by their mental healthcare provider, especially if they are taking antipsychotic drugs
  • help to stop smoking, even if previous attempts have been unsuccessful
  • interventions in line with relevant NICE guidance, for example its clinical guidance on obesity, if they experience rapid or excessive weight gain, abnormal lipid levels or problems with blood glucose management.

In addition, the guideline advocates the use of individual cognitive behavioural therapy for people deemed at risk of developing psychosis. Healthcare professionals should also consider offering patients arts therapies to help alleviate symptoms.

Catherine Pope, vice-chair of Council and president of the CSP’s Chartered Physiotherapists in Mental Health network, said: ‘It is really positive that NICE has recognised the poorer physical health suffered by people with mental health problems.

‘Physiotherapists have a key role in promoting exercise and physical activity which is tailored to an individual's physical and mental health needs.’

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