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The impact of a new affective episode on psychosocial functioning, quality of life and perceived stress in newly diagnosed patients with bipolar disorder: A prospective one-year case-control study

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BACKGROUND: Bipolar disorder (BD) has been associated with impaired functioning during periods of euthymia. This prospective one-year case-control study investigated the impact of a new affective episode on psychosocial functioning, quality of life (QoL) and perceived stress in newly diagnosed patients with BD in euthymia.

METHODS: Clinically evaluated psychosocial functioning (Functioning Assessment Short Test, FAST), self-reported QoL (WHOQoL-BREF scale) and stress (Cohens' Perceived Stress Scale) were collected from 87 patients with BD with (BD-E) (n=38) and without (BD-NE) (n=44) clinical relapse and 44 age and gender matched healthy control (HC) individuals at baseline (T0), following an episode if it occurred (T2) and at one-year follow-up (T3).

RESULTS: Patients with BD presented with poorer functioning compared to HC individuals at T0 and T3. There was no statistically significantly difference in the changes in FAST (-1.2, adjusted-p=0.82), PSS (0.34, adjusted-p=0.93) or WHOQoL (-0.67, adjusted-p=0.93) between BD-E and BD-NE during the one-year follow-up. The subgroup BD-E had statistically significantly higher FAST and stress scores and lower WHOQoL-scores compared to BD-NE at both T0 and T3.

LIMITATIONS: Modest sample size.

CONCLUSION: Functioning is impaired in newly diagnosed patients with BD in a euthymic state, however, a new affective episode does not affect functioning during subsequent euthymia at one-year follow-up. Patients with BD-E presented with overall most impaired functioning, highlighting the importance of early intervention strategies as essential to identify and treat patients at high risk of relapse and poor outcome.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume277
Pages (from-to)486-494
Number of pages9
ISSN0165-0327
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2020

ID: 60949336