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In a large and comprehensively assessed sample of patients with bipolar disorder type I (BDI), we investigated the prevalence of psychotic features and their relationship with life course, demographic, clinical, and cognitive characteristics. We hypothesized that groups of psychotic symptoms (Schneiderian, mood incongruent, thought disorder, delusions, and hallucinations) have distinct relations to risk factors.
In a cross-sectional study of 1342 BDI patients, comprehensive demographical and clinical characteristics were assessed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID-I) interview. In addition, levels of childhood maltreatment and intelligence quotient (IQ) were assessed. The relationships between these characteristics and psychotic symptoms were analyzed using multiple general linear models.
A lifetime history of psychotic symptoms was present in 73.8% of BDI patients and included delusions in 68.9% of patients and hallucinations in 42.6%. Patients with psychotic symptoms showed a significant younger age of disease onset (β = −0.09, t = −3.38, p = 0.001) and a higher number of hospitalizations for manic episodes (F11 338 = 56.53, p < 0.001). Total IQ was comparable between groups. Patients with hallucinations had significant higher levels of childhood maltreatment (β = 0.09, t = 3.04, p = 0.002).
In this large cohort of BDI patients, the vast majority of patients had experienced psychotic symptoms. Psychotic symptoms in BDI were associated with an earlier disease onset and more frequent hospitalizations particularly for manic episodes. The study emphasizes the strength of the relation between childhood maltreatment and hallucinations but did not identify distinct subgroups based on psychotic features and instead reported of a large heterogeneity of psychotic symptoms in BD.
A substantial number of people with bipolar disorder show a suboptimal response to treatment.
To study the effectiveness of a collaborative care programme on symptoms and medication adherence in patients with bipolar disorder, compared with care as usual.
A two-armed, cluster randomised clinical trial was carried out in 16 out-patient mental health clinics in The Netherlands, in which 138 patients were randomised. Patient outcomes included duration and severity of symptoms and medication adherence, and were measured at baseline, 6 months and 12 months. Collaborative care comprised contracting, psychoeducation, problem-solving treatment, systematic relapse prevention and monitoring of outcomes. Mental health nurses functioned as care managers in this programme. The trial was registered with The Netherlands Trial Registry (NTR2600).
Collaborative care had a significant and clinically relevant effect on number of months with depressive symptoms, both at 6 months (z =–2.6, P = 0.01, d = 0.5) and at 12 months (z =–3.1, P = 0.002, d = 0.7), as well as on severity of depressive symptoms at 12 months (z =–2.9, P = 0.004, d = 0.4). There was no effect on symptoms of mania or on treatment adherence.
When compared with treatment as usual, collaborative care substantially reduced the time participants with bipolar disorder experienced depressive symptoms. Also, depressive symptom severity decreased significantly. As persistent depressive symptoms are difficult to treat and contribute to both disability and impaired quality of life in bipolar disorder, collaborative care may be an important form of treatment for people with this disorder.
The Stanley Foundation Bipolar Network (SFBN) was created to address the paucity of help studies in bipolar illness.
To describe the rationale and methods of the SFBN.
The SFBN includes five core sites and a number of affiliated sites that have adopted consistent methodology for continuous longitudinal monitoring of patients. Open and controlled studies are performed as patients' symptomatology dictates.
The reliability of SFBN raters and the validity of the rating instruments have been established. More than 500 patients are in continuous daily longitudinal follow-up. More than 125 have been randomised to one of three of the newer antidepressants (bupropion, sertraline and venlafaxine) as adjuncts in a study of mood stabilisers and 93 to omega-3 fatty acids. A number of open clinical case series have been published.
Well-characterised patients are followed in a detailed continuous longitudinal fashion in both opportunistic case series and double-blind, randomised controlled trials with reliable and validated measures.
The Stanley Foundation Bipolar Network (SFBN) evaluates treatments, course and clinical and neurobiological markers of response in bipolar illness.
To give a preliminary summary of emerging findings in these areas.
Studies with established and potentially antimanic, antidepressant and mood-stabilising agents range from open case series to double-blind randomised clinical trials, and use the same core assessment methodology, thereby optimising the comparability of the outcomes. The National Institute of Mental Health Life Chart Method is the core instrument for retrospective and prospective longitudinal illness description.
The first groups of patients enrolled show a considerable degree of past and present symptomatology, psychiatric comorbidity and functional impairment. There are associations of both genetic and early environmental factors with more severe courses of illness. Open case series with add-on olanzapine, lamotrigine, gabapentin or topiramate show a differential spectrum of effectiveness in refractory patients.
The SFBN provides important new data for the understanding and treatment of bipolar disorder.
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