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Basic symptoms, defined as subjectively perceived disturbances in thought, perception and other essential mental processes, have been established as a predictor of psychotic disorders. However, the relationship between basic symptoms and family history of a transdiagnostic range of severe mental illness, including major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, has not been examined.
We sought to test whether non-severe mood disorders and severe mood and psychotic disorders in parents is associated with increased basic symptoms in their biological offspring.
We measured basic symptoms using the Schizophrenia Proneness Instrument – Child and Youth Version in 332 youth aged 8–26 years, including 93 offspring of control parents, 92 offspring of a parent with non-severe mood disorders, and 147 offspring of a parent with severe mood and psychotic disorders. We tested the relationships between parent mental illness and offspring basic symptoms in mixed-effects linear regression models.
Offspring of a parent with severe mood and psychotic disorders (B = 0.69, 95% CI 0.22–1.16, P = 0.004) or illness with psychotic features (B = 0.68, 95% CI 0.09–1.27, P = 0.023) had significantly higher basic symptom scores than control offspring. Offspring of a parent with non-severe mood disorders reported intermediate levels of basic symptoms, that did not significantly differ from control offspring.
Basic symptoms during childhood are a marker of familial risk of psychopathology that is related to severity and is not specific to psychotic illness.
The long-term outcomes of bipolar disorder range from lasting remission to chronic course or frequent recurrences requiring admissions. The distinction between bipolar I and II disorders has limited utility in outcome prediction. It is unclear to what extent the clinical course of bipolar disorder predicts long-term outcomes.
A representative sample of 191 individuals diagnosed with bipolar I or II disorder was recruited and followed for up to 5 years using a life-chart method. We previously described the clinical course over the first 18 months with dimensional course characteristics and latent classes. Now we test if these course characteristics predict long-term outcomes, including time ill (time with any mood symptoms) and hospital admissions over a second non-overlapping follow-up period in 111 individuals with available data from both 18 months and 5 years follow-ups.
Dimensional course characteristics from the first 18 months prospectively predicted outcomes over the following 3.5 years. The proportion of time depressed, the severity of depressive symptoms and the proportion of time manic predicted more time ill. The proportion of time manic, the severity of manic symptoms and depression-to-mania switching predicted a greater likelihood of hospital admissions. All predictions remained significant after controlling for age, sex and bipolar I v. II disorder.
Differential associations with long-term outcomes suggest that course characteristics may facilitate care planning with greater predictive validity than established types of bipolar disorders. A clinical course dominated by depressive symptoms predicts a greater proportion of time ill. A clinical course characterized by manic episodes predicts hospital admissions.
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and anxiety disorders have been proposed as precursors of bipolar disorder, but their joint and relative roles in the development of bipolar disorder are unknown.
To test the prospective relationship of ADHD and anxiety with onset of bipolar disorder.
We examined the relationship between ADHD, anxiety disorders and bipolar disorder in a birth cohort of 2 409 236 individuals born in Denmark between 1955 and 1991. Individuals were followed from their sixteenth birthday or from January 1995 to their first clinical contact for bipolar disorder or until December 2012. We calculated incidence rates per 10 000 person-years and tested the effects of prior diagnoses on the risk of bipolar disorder in survival models.
Over 37 394 865 person-years follow-up, 9250 onsets of bipolar disorder occurred. The incidence rate of bipolar disorder was 2.17 (95% CI 2.12–2.19) in individuals with no prior diagnosis of ADHD or anxiety, 23.86 (95% CI 19.98–27.75) in individuals with a prior diagnosis of ADHD only, 26.05 (95% CI 24.47–27.62) in individuals with a prior diagnosis of anxiety only and 66.16 (95% CI 44.83–87.47) in those with prior diagnoses of both ADHD and anxiety. The combination of ADHD and anxiety increased the risk of bipolar disorder 30-fold (95% CI 21.66–41.40) compared with those with no prior ADHD or anxiety.
Early manifestations of both internalising and externalising psychopathology indicate liability to bipolar disorder. The combination of ADHD and anxiety is associated with a very high risk of bipolar disorder.
Declaration of interest
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