Physical Health in Psychiatry


Physical health assessment is an essential part of a psychiatric assessment, and a psychiatrist should be skilled in physical examination, as well as mental state examination.  There are various reasons for this:

  • Physical examination is an essential part of the process of formulating a differential diagnosis for psychiatric presentations and ruling out organic causes (e.g. endocrine, infectious or neurological conditions) 
  • Psychotropic medications can have significant physical effects, including metabolic syndrome, hyponatremia and extra-pyramidal side effects
  • Regular physical health monitoring is an essential part of treatment
  • Patients with psychiatric conditions may be at risk of neglecting their physical health, or of being less able to communicate their concerns about their physical health
  • Patients with psychiatric conditions are also at increased risk of being stigmatised and having difficulty accessing services.  


The NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Physical Health Policy can be read here

Editorial Information

Last reviewed: 29/04/2024

Next review date: 25/10/2028

Author(s): MyPsych Editorial Group.

Version: 1.0

Author email(s):

Approved By: MyPsych Editorial Group

Reviewer name(s): MyPsych Editorial Group.