Childhood maltreatment and bipolar disorder

Currell, E. The Mental Elf. Published online: 2 June 2016

This systematic review and meta-analysis set out to examine whether a history of childhood maltreatment in individuals with bipolar disorder was associated with an increased risk for negative clinical outcomes. Heterogeneity of findings across the literature was also explored.

Summary/ Clinical implications: 

  • A history of childhood maltreatment could be an early indicator of disorder progression, helping identify individuals who might be at risk of a more undesirable disorder course.
  • Potential to stratify patients according to their risk for certain undesirable outcomes means treatment could be more targeted and specific.
  • Results lead the authors to suggest that the use of established treatment processes, such as those used in major depression, may be appropriate, including pharmacological interventions that target biological vulnerabilities. Additionally, comorbidities with PTSD and anxiety disorders lead to implications of trauma and anxiety-based treatments to improve illness course.
  • Clinicians may consider checking for childhood trauma in patients with bipolar disorder or in those with a more severe or unremitting course.

Read the full commentary here

Read the original research abstract here

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