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Schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type (SAD) and bipolar disorder I (BD) present a large clinical overlap. In a 1-year follow-up, we aimed to evaluate days to hospitalization (DTH) and predictors of relapse in a SAD-BD cohort of patients.
A 1–year, prospective, naturalistic cohort study considering DTH as primary outcome and incidence of direct and indirect measures of psychopathological compensation as secondary outcomes. Kaplan-Meyer survival analysis with Log-rank Mantel-Cox test compared BD/SAD subgroups as to DTH. After bivariate analyses, Cox regression was performed to assess covariates possibly associated with DTH in diagnostic subgroups.
Of 836 screened patients, 437 were finally included (SAD = 105; BD = 332). Relapse rates in the SAD sample was n = 26 (24.8%) vs. n = 41 (12.3%) in the BD sample (p = 0.002). Mean ± SD DTH were 312.16 ± 10.6 (SAD) vs. 337.62 ± 4.4 (BD) days (p = 0.002). Patients with relapses showed more frequent suicide acts, violent behaviors, and changes in pharmacological treatments (all p < 0.0005) in comparison to patients without relapse. Patients without relapses had significantly higher mean number of treatments at T0 (p = 0.010). Cox regression model relating the association between diagnosis and DTH revealed that BD had higher rates of suicide attempts (HR = 13.0, 95%CI = 4.0–42.0, p < 0.0005), whereas SAD had higher rates of violent behavior during psychotic episodes (HR = 12.0, 95%CI =.3.3-43.5, p > 0.0005).
SAD patients relapse earlier with higher hospitalization rates and violent behavior during psychotic episodes whereas bipolar patients have more suicide attempts. Psychiatric/psychological follow-up visits may delay hospitalizations by closely monitoring symptoms of self- and hetero-aggression.
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