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Bipolar disorder (BD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) are prevalent, comorbid, and disabling conditions, often characterized by early onset and chronic course. When comorbid, OCD and BD can determine a more pernicious course of illness, posing therapeutic challenges for clinicians. Available reports on prevalence and clinical characteristics of comorbidity between BD and OCD showed mixed results, likely depending on the primary diagnosis of analyzed samples.
We assessed prevalence and clinical characteristics of BD comorbidity in a large international sample of patients with primary OCD (n = 401), through the International College of Obsessive–Compulsive Spectrum Disorders (ICOCS) snapshot database, by comparing OCD subjects with vs without BD comorbidity.
Among primary OCD patients, 6.2% showed comorbidity with BD. OCD patients with vs without BD comorbidity more frequently had a previous hospitalization (p < 0.001) and current augmentation therapies (p < 0.001). They also showed greater severity of OCD (p < 0.001), as measured by the Yale–Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS).
These findings from a large international sample indicate that approximately 1 out of 16 patients with primary OCD may additionally have BD comorbidity along with other specific clinical characteristics, including more frequent previous hospitalizations, more complex therapeutic regimens, and a greater severity of OCD. Prospective international studies are needed to confirm our findings.
Bipolar disorder (BD) is a chronic, highly disabling condition associated with psychiatric/medical comorbidity and substantive morbidity, mortality, and suicide risks. In prior reports, varying parameters have been associated with suicide risk.
To evaluate sociodemographic and clinical variables characterizing Italian individuals with BD with versus without prior suicide attempt (PSA).
A sample of 362 Italian patients categorized as BD according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM IV-TR) was assessed and divided in 2 subgroups: with and without PSA. Sociodemographic and clinical variables were compared between prior attempters and non-attempters using corrected multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA).
More than one-fourth of BD patients (26.2%) had a PSA, with approximately one-third (31%) of these having>1 PSA. Depressive polarity at onset, higher number of psychiatric hospitalizations, comorbid alcohol abuse, comorbid eating disorders, and psychiatric poly-comorbidity were significantly more frequent (p<.05) in patients with versus without PSA. Additionally, treatment with lithium, polypharmacotherapy (≥4 current drugs) and previous psychosocial rehabilitation were significantly more often present in patients with versus without PSA.
We found several clinical variables associated with PSA in BD patients. Even though these retrospective findings did not address causality, they could be clinically relevant to better understanding suicidal behavior in BD and adopting proper strategies to prevent suicide in higher risk patients.
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