ENHANCING resilience levels can improve physical as well as mental health in schizophrenia patients, according to research from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, California, USA. The findings suggest that resilience-enhancing techniques could be used to reduce the risk of conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease in these patients.
Impact of Resilience
Individuals with schizophrenia are particularly vulnerable to physical disorders, and the team sought to better understand the link between childhood trauma and psychological resilience on health and metabolic function in schizophrenia in the first qualitative study of its kind. Childhood trauma is one of a number of genetic and environmental risk factors linked to the mental health disorder.
In a comparative analysis of 114 participants with schizophrenia and 101 non-psychiatric individuals between the ages of 26 and 65 years, the researchers found that schizophrenia patients who had a history of severe childhood adversity coupled with high psychological resilience levels had similar physical health and biomarkers of insulin resistance to non-psychiatric subjects with severe childhood adversity and low resilience levels. They additionally observed that across all study participants, there were better metabolic biomarkers as well as overall physical and mental health in those with high levels of resilience.
The authors believe this shows resilience-enhancing training could be used to negate some of the physical and mental health issues that often occur in schizophrenia patients. These include techniques frequently used by the military and interventions such as mindfulness, meditation, and positive psychology. They hope the research could lead to the development of new non-drug therapies for schizophrenia.
New Therapeutic Approaches
“The finding that resilience can play a protective or coping role in persons with schizophrenia provides clinicians with an opportunity to use non-drug interventions in treatment,” commented senior author Prof Dilip Jeste, UC San Diego. “High resilience could potentially play a large role in improving health outcomes for people living with schizophrenia. Interventions, like resilience training, could be combined with other therapies, allowing for more comprehensive treatment plans.”
The authors acknowledged that the results of this cross-sectional analysis will need to be replicated in a longitudinal study to prove the validity.
James Coker, Reporter
For the source and further information about the study, click here.