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Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Jan Scott
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Objective: Duration of untreated illness represents a potentially modifiable component of any diagnosis-treatment pathway. In bipolar disorder (BD), this concept has rarely been systematically defined or not been applied to large clinically representative samples. Method: In a well-characterized sample of 501 patients with BD, we estimated the duration of untreated bipolar disorder (DUB: the interval between the first major mood episode and first treatment with a mood stabilizer). Associations between DUB and clinical onset and the temporal sequence of key clinical milestones were examined. Results: The mean DUB was 9.6 years (SD 9.7; median 6). The median DUB for those with a hypomanic onset (14.5 years) exceeded that for depressive (13 years) and manic onset (8 years). Early onset BD cases have the longest DUB (P < 0.0001). An extended DUB was associated with more mood episodes (P < 0.0001), more suicidal behaviour (P = 0.0003) and a trend towards greater lifetime mood instability (e.g. rapid cycling, possible antidepressant-induced mania). Conclusion: Duration of untreated bipolar disorder (DUB) will only be significantly reduced by more aggressive case finding strategies. Reliable diagnosis (especially for BD-II) and/or instigation of recommended treatments is currently delayed by insufficient awareness of the early, polymorphous presentations of BD, lack of systematic screening and/or failure to follow established guidelines.
Author(s): Drancourt N, Etain B, Lajnef M, Henry C, Raust A, Cochet B, Mathieu F, Gard S, Bailara KM, Zanouy L, Kahn JP, Cohen RF, Wajsbrot-Elgrabli O, Leboyer M, Scott J, Bellivier F
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Print publication date: 01/02/2013
ISSN (print): 0001-690X
ISSN (electronic): 1600-0447
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
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