Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine
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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 41  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 61-67

Stressful life events and relapse in bipolar affective disorder: A cross-sectional study from a tertiary care center of Southern India

Department of Psychiatry, MOSC Medical College, Kolenchery, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. A Nisha
Department of Psychiatry, MOSC Medical College, Kolenchery - 682 311, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJPSYM.IJPSYM_113_18

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Background: Bipolar affective disorder (BAD) is a severe mental illness which results in serious lifelong struggles and challenges. The full impact of stressful life events (SLEs) on the course of BAD is poorly understood. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on 128 consecutive patients with BAD currently admitted with a relapse. Our objectives were (1) to estimate the proportion, type, and timing of preonset SLEs in relapsed BAD patients and (2) to study the association between SLEs and selected clinical variables in this group. Semi-structured proforma, Young Mania Rating Scale, Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, Presumptive Stressful Life Events Scale, and Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale were used. Statistical analysis was done using R software for Windows. Results: About 69.5% (89/128) of patients reported preonset SLEs – among which 50 (56.2%) had mania and 39 (43.8%) had depression. Conflict with in-laws and financial problems were the commonly reported SLEs. The mean duration between SLEs and the relapse was 19.73 ± 4.8 days. BPRS score was significantly high in subjects with preonset SLEs (P = 0.022). No significant association was detected between SLEs and the type of episode during relapse (P = 0.402). Conclusion: This study emphasizes the significance of SLEs in the relapse and longitudinal course of BAD. Understanding the association of SLEs and relapse in BAD will help in predicting further relapses and developing newer pharmacological and nonpharmacological measures targeting this aspect, thereby maximizing both symptom reduction and quality of life in patients with BAD.

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