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Symptomatic and functional outcome 12 months after a first episode of psychotic mania: barriers to recovery in a catchment area sample


  • The authors of this paper do not have any commercial associations that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with this manuscript.

Philippe Conus, MD, PhD, Département Universitaire de Psychiatrie CHUV, Université de Lausanne, Clinique de Cery, 1008 Prilly, Switzerland. Fax: +41-21-644-64-69; e-mail:


Objective:  Recent studies have shown that outcome in mania is worse than previously thought. Such studies have been conducted in selected samples with restrictive measures of outcome. We aimed to explore outcome and its predictors in a catchment area sample of first-episode psychotic mania of DSM-III-R bipolar I disorder.

Methods:  Prospective 6 and 12 months follow-up was conducted with 87 DSM-III-R first-episode psychotic mania patients admitted to Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centre between 1989 and 1997. Syndromic and symptomatic outcome were determined with the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale; functional outcome with the Quality of Life Scale and Premorbid Adjustment Scale subitems.

Results:  Symptomatic outcome was assessed in 67 patients at 6 months and 61 patients at 12 months, and functional outcome in 56 patients at 6 months and 49 patients at 12 months. Logistic regressions were conducted on 46 and 43 patients, respectively, to explore predictors of outcome. While 90% of patients achieved syndromic recovery at 6 and 12 months, 40% had not recovered symptomatically at 6 and 12 months, still presenting with anxiety or depression. A total of 66% of patients at 6 months and 61% of patients at 12 months failed to return to previous level of functioning. Age at intake, family history of affective disorder, illicit drug use and functional recovery at 6 months predicted functional outcome at 12 months.

Conclusions:  This study confirms poor symptomatic and functional outcome after first-episode psychotic mania. It suggests possible usefulness of early intervention strategies in bipolar disorders and need for developing specific interventions addressing anxiety, depression and substance abuse comorbidity.