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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.
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) and maintenance antidepressant medication (mADM) both reduce the risk of relapse in recurrent depression, but their combination has not been studied.
To investigate whether MBCT with discontinuation of mADM is non-inferior to MBCT+mADM.
A multicentre randomised controlled non-inferiority trial (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT00928980). Adults with recurrent depression in remission, using mADM for 6 months or longer (n = 249), were randomly allocated to either discontinue (n = 128) or continue (n = 121) mADM after MBCT. The primary outcome was depressive relapse/recurrence within 15 months. A confidence interval approach with a margin of 25% was used to test non-inferiority. Key secondary outcomes were time to relapse/recurrence and depression severity.
The difference in relapse/recurrence rates exceeded the non-inferiority margin and time to relapse/recurrence was significantly shorter after discontinuation of mADM. There were only minor differences in depression severity.
Our findings suggest an increased risk of relapse/recurrence in patients withdrawing from mADM after MBCT.
Schizophrenia is associated with lower intelligence and poor educational performance relative to the general population. This is, to a lesser degree, also found in first-degree relatives of schizophrenia patients. It is unclear whether bipolar disorder I (BD-I) patients and their relatives have similar lower intellectual and educational performance as that observed in schizophrenia.
This cross-sectional study investigated intelligence and educational performance in two outpatient samples [494 BD-I patients, 952 schizophrenia spectrum (SCZ) patients], 2231 relatives of BD-I and SCZ patients, 1104 healthy controls and 100 control siblings. Mixed-effects and regression models were used to compare groups on intelligence and educational performance.
BD-I patients were more likely to have completed the highest level of education (odds ratio 1.88, 95% confidence interval 1.66–2.70) despite having a lower IQ compared to controls (β = −9.09, s.e. = 1.27, p < 0.001). In contrast, SCZ patients showed both a lower IQ (β = −15.31, s.e. = 0.86, p < 0.001) and lower educational levels compared to controls. Siblings of both patient groups had significantly lower IQ than control siblings, but did not differ on educational performance. IQ scores did not differ between BD-I parents and SCZ parents, but BD-I parents had completed higher educational levels.
Although BD-I patients had a lower IQ than controls, they were more likely to have completed the highest level of education. This contrasts with SCZ patients, who showed both intellectual and educational deficits compared to healthy controls. Since relatives of BD-I patients did not demonstrate superior educational performance, our data suggest that high educational performance may be a distinctive feature of bipolar disorder patients.
Knowledge of the risk of recurrence after recovery from major depressive disorder (MDD) in the general population is scarce.
Data were derived from 687 subjects in the general population with a lifetime DSM-III-R diagnosis of MDD but without a current major depressive episode (MDE) or dysthymia. Participants had to be at least 6 months in remission, and were recruited from The Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study (NEMESIS), using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). Recency and severity of the last MDE were assessed retrospectively at baseline. Recurrence of MDD was measured prospectively during the 3-year follow-up. Kaplan–Meier survival curves were used to measure time to recurrence. Determinants of time to recurrence were analyzed using proportional hazard models.
The estimated cumulative recurrence of MDD was 13.2% at 5 years, 23.2% at 10 years and 42.0% at 20 years. In bivariate analysis, the following variables predicted a shorter time to recurrence: younger age, younger age of onset, higher number of previous episodes, a severe last depressive episode, negative youth experiences, ongoing difficulties before recurrence and high neuroticism. Multivariably, younger age, a higher number of previous episodes, a severe last depressive episode, negative youth experiences and ongoing difficulties remained significant.
In this community sample, the long-term risk of recurrence was high, but lower than that found in clinical samples. Subjects who had had an MDE had a long-term vulnerability for recurrence. Factors predicting recurrence included illness- and stress-related factors.
Current classification of unipolar depression reflects the idea that prognosis is essential. However, do DSM categories of major depressive disorder (MDD), dysthymic disorder (Dysth) and double depression (DD=MDD+Dysth) indeed adequately represent clinically relevant course trajectories of unipolar depression? Our aim was to test DSM categories (MDD, Dysth and DD) in comparison with empirically derived prognostic categories, using a prospectively followed cohort of depressed patients.
A large sample (n=804) of out-patients with unipolar depression were derived from a prospective cohort study, the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety (NESDA). Using latent class growth analysis (LCGA), empirically derived 2-year course trajectories were constructed. These were compared with DSM diagnoses and a wider set of putative predictors for class membership.
Five course trajectories were identified, ranging from mild severity and rapid remission to high severity and chronic course trajectory. Contrary to expectations, more than 50% of Dysth and DD were allocated to classes with favorable course trajectories, suggesting that current DSM categories do not adequately represent course trajectories. The class with the most favorable course trajectory differed on several characteristics from other classes (younger age, more females, less childhood adversity, less somatic illnesses, lower neuroticism, higher extraversion). Older age, earlier age of onset and lower extraversion predicted poorest course trajectory.
MDD, Dysth and DD did not adequately match empirically derived course trajectories for unipolar depression. For the future classification of unipolar depression, it may be wise to retain the larger, heterogeneous category of unipolar depression, adopting cross-cutting dimensions of severity and duration to further characterize patients.
Data on the duration of major depressive episodes (MDE) in the general population are sparse.
To assess the duration of MDE and its clinical and socio-demographic determinants in a study group drawn from the general population with newly originated episodes of major depression.
The Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study is a prospective epidemiological survey in the adult population (n=7076), using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Duration of MDE over 2 years was assessed with a Life Chart Interview.
The median duration of MDE was 3.0 months; 50% of participants recovered within 3 months, 63% within 6 months, 76% within 12 months and nearly 20% had not recovered at 24 months. Determinants of persistence were severity of depression and comorbid dysthymia. A recurrent episode predicted shorter duration.
Although half of those affected with MDE recovered rapidly, the risk of chronicity (duration 24months or more) was considerable. This underlines the necessity of diagnosing and treating those at risk.
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