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Sequencing of substance use and affective morbidity in 166 first episode bipolar I disorder patients

Author(s): Baethge C, Hennen J, Khalsa HM, Salvatore P, Tohen M, et al.

Abstract

Objectives: Since bipolar disorder (BPD) patients have high rates of comorbid substance abuse, and the temporal relationships involved are unclear, we evaluated the sequencing of specific substance use and affective morbidity.

Methods: Prospective follow-up (4.7 years) of 166 first-episode DSM-IV type I BPD patients with reliable, standardized assessments provided data for longitudinal analysis of temporal distribution of alcohol and cannabis use versus manic or depressive episodes or symptoms, using generalized estimating equation regression modeling.

Results: By quarters, cannabis use selectively and strongly preceded and coincided with mania/hypomania, and alcohol use preceded or coincided with depression, whereas substance use was unassociated with mood states in preceding quarters.

Conclusions: These preliminary findings suggest potentially predictive temporal associations, in which the abuse of cannabis or alcohol anticipated or corresponded with, but did not follow, affective morbidity, including selective association of cannabis with mania and alcohol with depression.

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