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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a non-invasive neurostimulation technique that has received increasing interest in the area of mood disorders over the last several years. While acute, double-blind, sham-controlled studies have already reported positive findings in terms of efficacy and safety for tDCS, follow-up data are lacking. This need prompted the present follow-up study, which assesses post-acute effects of tDCS (no maintenance stimulation was performed), in the mid-term, in a sample of major depressives.
After completing an acute, open trial of tDCS, 23 outpatients with either major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder entered a naturalistic follow-up (T1) with clinical evaluations at one week (T2), 1 month (T3), and 3 months (T4). A quantitative analysis of Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D), Montgomery–Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS), and Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) total scores, through repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) (T1–T4) and paired t-test for comparing specific time points (T1–T2, T2–T3, and T3–T4), was performed. In addition, a qualitative analysis on the basis of treatment response and remission (HAM-D) was performed.
Even though a progressive reduction of follow-up completers was observed from T2 to T4 (95.6% at T2, 65.2% at T3, and 47.8% at T4), the antidepressant effects of acute tDCS persisted over 3 months in almost half of the sample. Of note, no post-acute side effects emerged during the follow-up observation. The most frequent causes of drop-out from this study included major modifications in therapeutic regimen (30%) and poor adherence to follow-up visits (17%).
In this mid-term, open, follow-up study, tDCS showed mixed results. Further controlled studies are urgently needed to assess its effects beyond the acute phase.
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