Director’s Blog Despite careful monitoring and daily insulin, many people with type I diabetes experience emergencies like diabetic coma that require hospital care. Imagine a dystopic world where this care was not given in hospitals but in jails alongside inmates convicted of violent crimes.

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In a recently published paper in General Hospital Psychiatry , we described the association between a diagnosis of a serious mental illness and a chronic pain condition. In a national sample of all patients who utilized services from the Veterans Health Administration within a given year, those individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder were significantly more likely to have a chart diagnosis of chronic pain compared to those without these psychiatric diagnoses. We concluded that this line of research has important implications for understanding how chronic pain might impact mental health recovery.

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For the past few years, we at NIMH have been increasingly focusing our research on serious mental illness (SMI). You can see the term SMI in recent blogs as well as in publications from NIMH.

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Abstract: Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess the rates of chronic, noncancer pain conditions in patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) System.Method: This cross-sectional study used administrative data extracted from VHA treatment records of all individuals receiving VHA services in fiscal year 2008 (N=5, 195,551). The associations between severe psychiatric disorders (schizophrenia and bipolar disorder) and chronic pain (arthritis, back pain, chronic pain, migraine, headache, psychogenic and neuropathic) were evaluated using a series of logistic regression analyses.Results: Veterans with schizophrenia [odds ratio (OR)=1.21] and bipolar disorder (OR=2.17) were significantly more likely to have chronic pain overall relative to veterans without these psychiatric conditions.

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Director’s Blog In recent months, there has been a growing global interest in brain science. The President called attention to the effort to map the human brain in his State of the Union address, the European Union recently announced its largest scientific award (1 billion euros) for the Human Brain Project , and private foundations such as the Allen Brain Institute and the Kavli Foundation have announced new bold efforts to map the brain. 1 At the same time, there has been an unprecedented national conversation about what role mental illness plays in gun violence

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