Over one-third of young people who were treated for bipolar disorder developed schizophrenia within eight years, according to a study in Schizophrenia Research. In addition, treatment with antipsychotics was “significantly associated” with poor psychosocial adaptation.
The team of psychiatrists from a hospital at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in France did a follow-up assessment of 55 adolescents hospitalized between 1993 and 2004 for bipolar disorder. Of these, 35 (63.6%) were still suffering symptoms of bipolar disorder, while 20 (36.4%) had begun presenting symptoms of schizophrenia.
“Psychosocial adaptation was moderate to poor for most patients, and 91% of the patients had at least one relapse,” wrote the researchers. Along with low socio-economic status, intellectual disability, negative life events and a history of sexual abuse, treatment with antipsychotics was “significantly associated with poorer psychosocial adaptation.”
Seven people at follow-up were not taking any psychiatric medications of any kind, but the researchers did not provide any distinct analysis on how those people had fared.
Diagnostic transition towards schizophrenia in adolescents with severe bipolar disorder type I: An 8-year follow-up study (Consoli, Angèle et al. Schizophrenia Research. Published Online September 10, 2014. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.schres.2014.08.010)