Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown impacts: A description in a longitudinal study of bipolar disorder

J Affect Disord. 2021 Mar 1:282:1226-1233. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2021.01.028. Epub 2021 Jan 13.


Objectives: To investigate the impact of the SAR-Cov-2 pandemic and lockdown on individuals with bipolar disorder in comparison to healthy controls.

Methods: A longitudinal study of 560 participants including 147 healthy controls was conducted between April 30 and May 30, 2020 during a state-wide lockdown. Bi-weekly measures included the Coronavirus Impact Scale, the Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index, the Patient Health Questionnaire, 9-item, and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale, 7-item. Generalized estimating equations method was used to examine the longitudinal change of the measures within the lockdown and the change from pre-pandemic period to pandemic period.

Results: All participants reported an impact of lockdown. Individuals with bipolar disorder reported greater impact from the stay-at-home orders with disruptions in routines, income/employment, social support and pandemic related stress. While these measures improved over time, healthy controls recovered quicker and with greater magnitude than persons with bipolar disorder. Comparing mood symptom severity measures in mid-March through May 2020 to the same time window in 2015-2019 (pre- verses post-pandemic), there were no significant differences among individuals with bipolar disorder, whereas healthy controls showed a significant, albeit transient, increase in mood symptoms.

Conclusion: Everyone was impacted by the SARs-CoV pandemic; however, those with bipolar disorder experienced more life impacting changes from the stay-at-home orders vs healthy controls. These disruptions improved over time but much more slowly than healthy controls. Pre- vs post-pandemic comparisons show a modest but significant increase in mood severity in the healthy controls which was not observed in those with bipolar disorder.

Keywords: Bipolar disorder; Covid-19; Lockdown; Mood; Pandemic; Sleep.

MeSH terms

  • Bipolar Disorder* / epidemiology
  • COVID-19*
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Social Isolation*