Recurrence and Relapse in Bipolar Mood Disorder

S Gh Mousavi, S Moalemi, S Sadeghi


Background: Despite the effectiveness of pharmacotherapy in acute phase of bipolar mood disorder, patients often experience relapses or recurrent episodes. Hospitalization of patients need a great deal of financial and humanistic resources which can be saved through understanding more about the rate of relapse and factors affecting this rate. Methods: In a descriptive analytical study, 380 patients with bipolar disorder who were hospitalized in psychiatric emergency ward of Noor hospital, Isfahan, Iran, were followed. Each patient was considered for; the frequency of relapse and recurrence, kind of pharmachotherapy, presence of psychotherapeutic treatments, frequency of visits by psychiatrist and the rank of present episode. Results: The overall prevalence of recurrence was 42.2%. Recurrence was lower in patients using lithium carbonate or sodium valproate or combined therapy (about 40%), compared to those using carbamazepine (80%). Recurrence was higher in patients treated with only pharmacotherapy (44.5%) compared to those treated with both pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy (22.2%). Patients who were visited monthy by psychiatrist had lower rate of recurrence compared to those who had irregular visits. Conclusion: The higher rate of recurrence observed in carbamazepine therapy may be due to its adverse reactions and consequently poor compliance to this drug. Lower rates of recurrence with psychotherapy and regular visits may be related to the preventive effects of these procedures and especially to the effective management of stress.
Keywords: Bipolar Mood Disorder, Recurrence, Relapse.

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