The authors of this paper do not have any commercial associations that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with this manuscript.
Use of mental health and primary care services by caregivers of patients with bipolar disorder: a preliminary study
Article first published online: 11 MAR 2005
Volume 7, Issue 2, pages 126–135, April 2005
How to Cite
Perlick, D. A., Hohenstein, J. M., Clarkin, J. F., Kaczynski, R. and Rosenheck, R. A. (2005), Use of mental health and primary care services by caregivers of patients with bipolar disorder: a preliminary study. Bipolar Disorders, 7: 126–135. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-5618.2004.00172.x
- Issue published online: 11 MAR 2005
- Article first published online: 11 MAR 2005
- Received 24 February 2004, revised and accepted for publication 14 September 2004
- bipolar disorder;
- caregiver service use;
Objectives: Caring for a relative with schizophrenia or dementia has been associated with reports of caregiver burden, symptoms of anxiety, depression, poor self-rated health, and elevated health service use; however, comparable data for caregivers of relatives with bipolar disorder are lacking. This study reports preliminary data on the health, psychological distress and health service use of caregivers of patients with bipolar disorder. It additionally evaluates the relationship of the level of burden caregivers report experiencing to their use of health services, controlling for level of psychological distress and health status.
Methods: Subjects were primary caregivers of 264 patients with Research Diagnostic Criteria-diagnosed bipolar disorder and their bipolar relatives. Caregiver mental health and primary care service use were assessed retrospectively for the 7-month period prior to inpatient or outpatient admission of the bipolar patient. Caregiver depression, anxiety, medical conditions and patient symptomatology were assessed as well.
Results: Hierarchical logistic regression analysis demonstrated that caregiver burden significantly increased the likelihood of mental health service use (OR = 13.53, p < 0.001) even after controlling for caregiver psychological distress and medical conditions, while anxiety and depression level, but not burden, significantly increased the likelihood of primary care service use, controlling for other variables (OR = 1.72, p = 0.02).
Conclusions: Burdens experienced by family caregivers appear to increase use of health services, and presumably cost, and may be reduced by psychosocial intervention.