We diagnosed 191 secondary-care outpatients and inpatients with DSM-IV BD I or II. Sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, including axis I and II comorbidity, neuroticism, and prospective life-chart were evaluated at intake and at 6 and 18 months. The family history (FH) of mood disorders, alcoholism, or any major psychiatric disorders among first-degree relatives was investigated in a semistructured interview. Most (74%) patients had some positive FH; 55% of mood disorder, 36% of alcoholism. Positive FH was associated with psychiatric comorbidity and depressive course in the proband. Based on a multinomial logistic regression model, patients with an FH of mood disorder and alcoholism had an odds ratio of 4.8 (p = 0.001) for having an anxiety disorder. Overall, the first-degree relatives of patients with BD have multiple types of mental disorders, which correlate with bipolar patients’ course of illness and psychiatric comorbidity. The strongest associations are between FH of mood disorders and presence of comorbid anxiety disorders.
*Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, National Institute of Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland; †Department of Psychiatry, Jorvi Hospital, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Espoo, Finland; and ‡Department of Psychiatry, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.
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