Is life getting manic? A survey of bipolar symptoms in the community

A group of investigators of he University of Bologna have tested the frequency of symptoms related to the psychiatric concept of mania (being easily distracted, irritable, with racing thoughts, etc..) in the community.

In their paper which appeared in the March issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics they reported these symptoms as being so frequent that either life is getting manic or the criteria for diagnosing bipolar disorder are getting too loose, may-be as a results of Big Pharma propaganda for antimanic drugs.

The goal of this study was to assess the frequency and spectrum of symptoms related to bipolar disorders in a community sample by means of a self-rating questionnaire. The Mood Disorder Questionnaire, a self-rating scale which evaluates DSM-IV manic/hypomanic symptoms, was administered to a community sample of 1,034 individuals recruited through advertisements. Symptom interrelationships were studied by factor analysis. 275 individuals (26.6%) reported moderate or severe impairment due to the symptoms.

Manic/hypomanic symptoms were present in a high proportion of individuals. Factor analysis found a two-factor structure of bipolar spectrum symptoms (an elevated mood overactivity factor, and an irritable behavior factor). The findings of this study highlight the need of complementing clinical investigations on the bipolar spectrum with community studies. Subclinical manic-hypomanic symptoms may be present also in allegedly unipolar patients and may have implications on the course of illness.


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