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06-04-2011 | Mental health | Article

Work, social, or family life disability affects half of bipolar patients

Abstract

Free abstract

MedWire News: Results from a Spanish study suggest that more than half of bipolar disorder patients experience some degree of disability in their work, social, or family life.

The findings, published in the journal Psychiatry Research, come from a study of 108 outpatients (33 men and 75 women) with the mood disorder, aged between 22 and 88 years, from the Jaén mental health catchment district.

Work disability was defined as receiving, or being in the process of obtaining, a disability pension, while social or family life disability was defined by a score of at least 7 on the respective subscales of the Sheehan Disability Scale.

Using these measures, the researchers found that 52-54% of patients had at least one type of disability, and 37% had two types.

Further analysis revealed that the presence of work disability was significantly and positively associated with previous manic episodes, at odds ratios (ORs) of 3.2 and 5.2 for three to nine and 10 or more previous episodes, respectively, compared with one to two previous episodes.

Work disability was also significantly associated with three or more hospitalizations, at an OR of 5.2 compared with no previous hospitalization, and current depressive symptoms (OR=4.0), and inversely associated with educational attainment.

Social life disability was significantly and positively associated with previous depressive episodes, at an OR of 3.5 for three to nine previous episodes compared with none to two previous episodes, and current depressive symptoms, at an OR of 3.8.

Family life disability was significantly and positively associated with 10 or more previous manic episodes, at an OR of 10.3 compared with one to two previous episodes, and current depressive symptoms (OR= 10.0), as well as with previous number of hospitalizations, and age.

The researchers also found that nicotine dependence and lack of social support were significantly associated with work and social life disability, respectively.

Manuel Gurpegui (University of Granada) and team conclude: "This study shows that disability affects an important proportion of bipolar disorder patients and that previous course-of-illness variables, particularly a high number of manic episodes, and current psychopathology… may be indicators of disability."

MedWire (www.medwire-news.md) is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Mark Cowen

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