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Italian Bipolar II vs I patients have better individual functioning, in spite of overall similar illness severity

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 February 2016

Bernardo Dell’Osso*
Affiliation:
Dipartimento di Fisiopatologia Medico-Chirurgica e dei Trapianti, Università degli Studi di Milano, Dipartimento di Salute Mentale, Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda, Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milano, Italy Bipolar Disorders Clinic, Stanford Medical School, Stanford University, Stanford, Calfornia, USA
Cristina Dobrea
Affiliation:
Dipartimento di Fisiopatologia Medico-Chirurgica e dei Trapianti, Università degli Studi di Milano, Dipartimento di Salute Mentale, Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda, Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milano, Italy
Laura Cremaschi
Affiliation:
Dipartimento di Fisiopatologia Medico-Chirurgica e dei Trapianti, Università degli Studi di Milano, Dipartimento di Salute Mentale, Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda, Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milano, Italy
Massimiliano Buoli
Affiliation:
Dipartimento di Fisiopatologia Medico-Chirurgica e dei Trapianti, Università degli Studi di Milano, Dipartimento di Salute Mentale, Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda, Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milano, Italy
Shefali Miller
Affiliation:
Bipolar Disorders Clinic, Stanford Medical School, Stanford University, Stanford, Calfornia, USA
Terence A. Ketter
Affiliation:
Bipolar Disorders Clinic, Stanford Medical School, Stanford University, Stanford, Calfornia, USA
A. Carlo Altamura
Affiliation:
Dipartimento di Fisiopatologia Medico-Chirurgica e dei Trapianti, Università degli Studi di Milano, Dipartimento di Salute Mentale, Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda, Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milano, Italy
*
*Address for correspondence: Dr. Bernardo Dell’Osso, MD, Department of Psychiatry, University of Milan, Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda, Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Via Francesco Sforza 35, 20122 Milano, Italy. (Email: bernardo.dellosso@unimi.it)

Abstract

Introduction

Bipolar disorders (BDs) comprise different variants of chronic, comorbid, and disabling conditions, with relevant suicide and suicide attempt rates. The hypothesis that BD types I (BDI) and II (BDII) represent more and less severe forms of illness, respectively, has been increasingly questioned over recent years, justifying additional investigation to better characterize related sociodemographic and clinical profiles.

Methods

A sample of 217 outpatients with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR)–described BD (141 BDI, 76 BDII), without a current syndromal mood episode, was recruited, and sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of BDI and II patients were compared.

Results

BDII patients had significantly more favorable sociodemographics, in relation to occupational stability, cohabitation, and marital status. However, BDII compared with BDI patients had significantly longer duration of untreated illness, more frequent lifetime anxiety disorders comorbidity, longer most recent episode duration, higher rate of depressive first/most recent episode, and more current antidepressant use. In contrast, BDI compared with BDII patients had significantly more severe illness in terms of earlier age at onset; higher rate of elevated first/most recent episode, lifetime hospitalizations, and involuntary commitments; lower Global Assessment of Functioning score; and more current antipsychotic use. BDI and II patients had similar duration of illness, psychiatric family history, lifetime number of suicide attempts, current subthreshold symptoms, history of stressful life events, and overall psychiatric/medical comorbidity.

Conclusion

BDII compared with BDI patients had more favorable sociodemographic features, but a mixture of specific unfavorable illness characteristics, confirming that BDII is not just a milder form of BD and requires further investigation in the field.

Type
Original Research
Copyright
© Cambridge University Press 2016 

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Footnotes

We would like to thank Chiara Arici, Michela Cigliobianco, Beatrice Benatti, Alma Cattaneo, and Matteo Vismara for their collaboration in performing psychiatric assessment and collecting clinical and sociodemographic data.

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