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Childhood maltreatment linked to later medical morbidity among bipolar disorder patients

21 Nov 2018

Adults with bipolar disorder who had been maltreated as a child are more likely to have a medical illness than adults with unipolar depression who have had the same experience, according to a study.

The study included 248 adults with recurrent unipolar depression, 72 with bipolar disorder and 354 psychiatrically healthy controls. All participants completed the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire and received a validated medical history interview.

Individuals with bipolar disorder had significantly longer illness duration and more depressive episodes compared with their counterparts with unipolar depression. In the entire cohort, commonly reported medical conditions were hypertension, arthritis and asthma.

Childhood maltreatment was more prevalent in the bipolar and unipolar groups than in the control group. Frequently reported forms of maltreatment were emotional abuse and neglect. Any type of abuse showed a moderate correlation with any type of neglect in the whole sample.

Childhood maltreatment of any form was significantly associated with medical burden in bipolar disorder but not in unipolar depression or in controls. This association showed a dose-response pattern, such that participants with bipolar disorder and a history of at least two forms of childhood maltreatment had the highest odds of developing a medical illness relative to those without such history or those who reported having experienced only one form.

No significant dose-response patterns were observed in the unipolar depression or control group.

The present data show the high medical morbidity in mood disorders, especially bipolar disorder, underscoring the need for regular physical health assessments in affected individuals, researchers said. Such assessments will facilitate earlier detection of medical illness and timely implementation of prevention and intervention strategies, improving the prognosis and reducing the morbidity and mortality attributed to physical illnesses.

Additional investigation is required to identify a subgroup of people with mood disorders and a history of maltreatment, who may be especially vulnerable to worse clinical course and poor physical health, researchers added.

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Most Read Articles
Stephen Padilla, 14 Aug 2019
Early administration of recombinant human B-type natriuretic peptide (rhBNP) can lower the incidence of reperfusion injury for patients with ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) who are receiving percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) treatment, according to a China study.
11 Aug 2019
Intraoperative methylprednisolone does not appear to significantly prevent the incidence of death, cardiac arrest and other injuries in neonates undergoing cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass, according to a recent study.
4 days ago
Pulmonary function has potential predictive value for future increases in arterial stiffness and its progression, as reported in a recent study.
2 days ago
Systolic blood pressure appears to have a strong association with aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage (aSAH) but not with unruptured intracranial aneurysm (UIA), whereas current smoking and female sex are risk factors for both conditions, a study has found.