September 7, 2005

Agitated Depression in Bipolar I Disorder

A new study suggests that agitated depression afflicts one fifth of those with bipolar I disorder. "Mario Maj and colleagues from the University of Naples studied all patients with bipolar I disorder presenting to the psychiatric department who fulfilled Research Diagnostic Criteria for agitated depression. These 61 patients were compared with 61 bipolar I patients with non-agitated depression, and 61 bipolar I patients with an index episode of mania" (PsychiatrySource.com).

Every 2 months the participants were tested on the Comprehensive Psychopathological Rating Scale (CPRS) and the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia. There were 22 men and 39 women with agitated depression. The average age of the group was 41.6 years. Those with agitated depression tended to be older when they first used any psychiatric services and had more psychiatric admissions before their "index episode" of mania.

There were several negative symptoms that seemed to accompany those with agitated depression, such as agitation, irritability, overly sexual, etc. Delusional guilt was experienced by 15 of them, and no one in the agitated depression group had delusions of grandeur or an "elated" mood.

Those with agitated depression scored higher on their CPRS and took longer to recover (12 weeks as opposed to 9 weeks). The researchers involved in this study believe that the effects of mood stabilizers on this group of patients should be studied, as they might have differing effects.

Original Source: Agitated depression common in bipolar I disorder. PsychiatryMatters.MD.

This research study was originally published in Am J Psychiatry 2003; 160: 2134-2140.

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