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The enduring psychosocial consequences of mania and depression
Am J Psychiatry 1993;150:720-727.
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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: The authors sought to determine the scope, severity, and persistence of psychosocial impairment arising from bipolar and unipolar affective disorder. METHOD: Patients with bipolar (N = 148) or unipolar (N = 240) major affective disorder were assessed as they sought treatment and again after a 5-year follow-up. Concurrently, parents, siblings, and adult children underwent similar assessments and were followed for 6 years. To quantify the impact of affective disorder, probands were individually matched to relatives who had no lifetime history of affective disorder. Sixty-nine relatives who were depressed at intake constituted a separate, nonclinical study group and were also matched to relatives who were well. RESULTS: Both unipolar and bipolar patients began follow-up with deficits in annual income. Relative to comparison subjects, affective disorder groups were significantly more likely to report declines in job status and income at the end of follow-up and significantly less likely to report improvements. Similarly, both bipolar and unipolar patients showed significant deficits in nearly all other areas of psychosocial functioning measured at follow-up. Except for relationships with spouses, deficits did not differ significantly by polarity. Surprisingly, probands with recovery sustained throughout the final 2 years of follow-up also showed severe and widespread impairment. Relatives with major depression exhibited substantial deficits on follow-up, but job status and income were not significantly affected. CONCLUSIONS: The psychosocial impairment associated with mania and major depression extends to essentially all areas of functioning and persists for years, even among individuals who experience sustained resolution of clinical symptoms.

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