Introduction: Psychotic symptoms in bipolar II disorder, allowed by definition only during a depressive episode, are present in a range between 3% and 45%. Little is known regarding the impact of psychotic symptoms on the clinical course of bipolar II patients. Findings from previous reports are controversial and focused specifically on bipolar I disorder. The aim of this study was to ascertain the clinical characteristics of individuals with bipolar II disorder with and without lifetime history of psychotic symptoms.
Methods: The sample consisted of 164 DSM-IV Bipolar II patients consecutively recruited from the Barcelona Bipolar Disorder Program. Patients were divided in Bipolar II patients with (N=32) and without (N=132) lifetime history of psychotic symptoms. Clinical and sociodemographic features were compared.
Results: Thirty-two out of 164 patients with bipolar II disorder had a history of psychosis during depression (19.5%). Bipolar II patients with a history of psychotic symptoms showed a higher number of hospitalizations than patients without such a history (p<0.001). They were also older but were less likely to have a family history of bipolar illness and any mental disorder than non-psychotic bipolar II patients. Melancholic and catatonic features were significantly more frequent in psychotic bipolar II patients (p<0.001).
Conclusions: Our findings confirm that the presence of psychotic symptoms in bipolar II disorder is not rare. Psychotic bipolar II disorder may be a different phenotype from non-psychotic bipolar disorder.
Copyright 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.