Bipolar Disorder Linked with Childhood Neglect and Abuse

OCTOBER 18, 2016
MD Magazine Staff
Adults diagnosed with bipolar disorder are much more likely than the general population to have suffered emotional, physical, or sexual abuse as children. psychiatry, pediatrics, mental health, bipolar disorder, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, internal medicine, childhood adversity, parental neglect, psychologyResearchers from the University of Manchester in England suggest that childhood adversity appears to be associated with bipolar disorder, which has implications for the treatment of this patient population. Published in the October 2016 issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry, the study found that people with bipolar disorder were 2.63 times (95% CI 2.00–3.47) more likely to have suffered emotional, physical, or sexual abuse as children than counterparts in the general population.
A meta-analysis approach was applied in the study for the first time in relation to bipolar disorder and childhood adversity and, as a result, the findings represent a much larger pool of data than has been previously available.
For the study, the investigators entered search terms relating to childhood adversity and bipolar disorder into Medline, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and Web of Science. Eligible studies included a sample diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a comparison sample, and a quantitative measure of childhood adversity. From the hundreds published between 1980 and 2014, they identified 19 that gathered data from millions of patient records, interviews, and assessments. Childhood adversity was defined as experiencing neglect, abuse, bullying, or the loss of a parent before age 19 years. The research team applied rigorous statistical analysis to the data in order to compare the likelihood of people with and without bipolar disorder having adverse childhood experiences.

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