Mood episodes have a significant negative effect on quality of life (QoL) in young adults, even among those without diagnosed bipolar disorder, Brazilian researchers report.
The team found that young adults with depressive, manic/hypomanic, or mixed mood episodes had significantly poorer scores on the 36-item Short-Form General Health Survey (SF-36) than their mentally healthy counterparts.
Furthermore, among patients with mood episodes, those with mixed episodes had the poorest SF-36 scores.
"This study breaks new ground as it analyses the perception of QoL in young people who, for the most part, had not received a diagnosis of mood disorder prior to the interview, but who were currently experiencing depressive, manic/hypomanic, or mixed episodes according to the DSM-IV criteria," comment Ricardo Azevedo da Silva (Universidade Católica de Pelotas) and colleagues.
The findings come from a cross-sectional, population-based study of 1560 young adults, aged 18-24 years, living in an urban area of Pelotas.
The Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview 5.0 was used to assess the participants for current depressive, manic/hypomanic, and mixed mood episodes, while the SF-36 was used to assess their QoL.
Overall, 10.0%, 2.3%, and 2.4% of participants met criteria for current depressive, manic/hypomanic, and mixed episodes, respectively.
Participants with mood episodes had significantly poorer SF-36 scores in all eight QoL domains (role physical health, physical functioning, general health, vitality, role emotional, mental health, social functioning, and bodily pain) than those without mood episodes. And the differences remained significant after adjustment for gender and socioeconomic status.
The largest difference in SF-36 scores between participants with and without mood episodes was observed in the role emotional domain, at 40.00, 66.66, and 29.72 in participants with depressive, manic/hypomanic, and mixed episodes, respectively, compared with 85.67 in those without mood episodes.
In participants with mood episodes, those with mixed episodes had the poorest SF-36 domain scores, followed by those with depressive episodes.
The researchers conclude in the Journal of Affective Disorders: "The decline in quality of life observed among young people with mood disorder episodes demonstrates that, even when the youths have not been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, the episodes that characterise the disease are capable of predicting functional impairment."
They add that earlier detection and treatment of mood episodes in young people may reduce their impact on QoL and functioning.
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