Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine
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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 41  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 68-74

Pathways to care for patients with Bipolar-I disorder: An exploratory study from a tertiary care centre of North India

Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Rajesh Sagar
Room No. 4089, Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJPSYM.IJPSYM_201_18

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Introduction: Understanding the pathways to psychiatric care is important from a public health perspective. Only a few Indian studies have focused on this, particularly for severe mental disorders. The present study was planned to assess it in patients with Bipolar-I disorder (BD-I). Materials and Methods: Sixty-four patients with DSM 5 diagnosis of BD-I and their caregivers were included. A semi-structured interview proforma was used to gather information. Results: Psychiatrists were the first care provider in 43.8% of the cases, followed by traditional faith healers (32.8%) and general physician/neurologists (17.2%). The median duration of untreated bipolar disorder (DUB) was 21 days (1 day to 152 months). Relatively long DUB (3.5 ± 3.5 years) was found for 17.2% of the sample. The median duration of the first contact with a psychiatrist was 45 days and the interval between the contact with the first care provider and a psychiatrist was 90 days (1 day to 151 months). At the time of first treatment seeking, 64% of patients and caregivers had poor awareness regarding psychiatric treatment. Conclusions: Patients with BD-I seek help from psychiatrists, faith healers or other medical practitioners for multiple reasons. There is a need to sensitise the community and various service providers about early identification and optimum management of BD-I.

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