Anti-Psychotics as 'a worthwhile gamble? Engaging with the Views of Service Users with First Episode Psychosis on Physical Health and Healthcare

Presentation First Author: 
Anna Lavis

Background: It is recognised that the physical health of individuals with severe mental illness is often poorer than that of individuals without. This has recently engendered interventions aimed at attenuating, in particular, long-term effects on service users physical health attributable to anti-psychotic medications. However, researchers and policy makers have arguably made this leap from poorer health outcomes to service delivery mechanisms with little engagement with service users own views of their physical health and healthcare. Methods: This paper reports results from the NIHR-funded multi-sited Super EDEN study. It draws on longitudinal qualitative interviews with 150 young people who have undergone a first episode of psychosis treated through English Early Intervention Services. Results: Service users narratives suggest them to have multifaceted relationships with anti-psychotics in which complex 'gambles between present and future, mental and physical, health are made daily. Such processes may not only impact on service users willingness and ability to engage with interventions into their physical health, but even with knowledge regarding potential long-term effects of anti-psychotics. Conclusion: By highlighting how the multiple priorities and needs of service users as they navigate psychosis may shape their perspectives on physical health and medications, as well as their engagements with emerging interventions, this research complements a growing focus on physical health and healthcare with a much-needed understanding of service users own views. In so doing, it offers insights into how interventions into physical health may be designed to fit with the wider contexts of young peoples lives.

Conference Name: 
Presentation Date: 
January, 2015
Additional Authors: 
Helen Lester (Deceased 2013) - Linda Everard - Max Birchwood
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