Postpartum Psychiatric Episodes Predict Bipolar Disorder

Psychiatric episode in postpartum period predicts conversion to bipolar affective disorder

TUESDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Presentation of a psychiatric episode in the postpartum period predicts subsequent conversion to bipolar affective disorder, according to a study published online Dec. 5 in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Trine Munk-Olsen, Ph.D., from Aarhus University in Denmark, and colleagues assessed the extent to which psychiatric disorders with postpartum onset are early indications of bipolar affective disorder. Data from 120,378 women with a first time psychiatric inpatient or outpatient contact with any kind of mental disorder, other than bipolar affective disorder, were assessed. All women were followed up individually from the day of discharge to the first-time diagnosis of bipolar affective disorder.

The investigators identified 3,062 women who were readmitted or experienced an outpatient contact with bipolar affective disorder diagnoses. Postpartum symptom onset, within zero to 14 days of delivery, significantly predicted subsequent conversion to bipolar disorder (relative risk [RR], 4.26). Compared with women with a first psychiatric contact not related to childbirth, more women with first-time psychiatric contacts during the first postpartum month converted to bipolar diagnosis within the 15-year follow-up period (approximately 14 and 4 percent, respectively). Higher conversion rates to bipolar disorder were associated with postpartum inpatient admissions versus outpatient contacts (RR, 2.16).

"A psychiatric episode in the immediate postpartum period significantly predicted conversion to bipolar affective disorder during the follow-up period," the authors write.

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