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Medical News & Perspectives
October 7, 2009

New Focus on Long-term Mental Health of Patients Who Survive Serious Illness

JAMA. 2009;302(13):1408-1409. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1342

Although studies show an increased risk of mental health problems quickly emerges among patients who undergo successful interventions for a life-threatening condition, many clinicians believe most issues resolve over time. But studies are being published showing that for some patients, such problems may persist or emerge years later.

Researchers say it is difficult to pinpoint mental health illnesses to events years in the past because other factors surface in a patient's life that can also cause distress. And even if a mental health issue can be tied to the past, the question emerges: “What can be done about it?”

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