The present cross-sectional study investigates the relationship between post-traumatic spectrum comorbidity and the severity of symptoms in subjects diagnosed with Bipolar Disorders (BD).
In- and outpatients diagnosed with BD according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5) were consecutively recruited. Sociodemographic and clinical data were collected. Psychopathology was evaluated by means of the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D), the Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS), and the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS). Sociodemographic, clinical and psychopathological characteristics of BD subjects with and without sub-threshold PTSD were compared by means of bivariate analyses (p<0.05).
BD subjects with post-traumatic spectrum comorbidity (n=24.49%) presented a significantly higher number of hospitalizations when compared to those who did not present the co-occurrence of the two conditions (2.67±2.3 versus 1.65±2.32, p=0.039). As for treatment features, subjects with subthreshold PTSD were more frequently prescribed benzodiazepines at the moment of evaluation or in the past (n=18, 100% versus n=22.55%, p=0.032). When assessing differences in terms of psychopathological characteristics, subjects with subthreshold PTSD showed higher HAM-D total score (16.22±9.06 versus 10.22±7.23, p=0.032) and higher PANSS negative symptom scale score (16.06±6.92 versus 11.41±4.68, p=0.017).
Findings from the present study suggest that subthreshold PTSD may underpin higher symptom severity and worse outcomes when occurring as a comorbid condition in BD.