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Mental Illness in Offspring of Patients with BD

Higher rates seen in US children

Children of individuals with bipolar disorder (BD) from the US had higher rates of depression, BD, and drug abuse vs their European counterparts in a study of 968 outpatients. Participants, all of whom had BD, participated in a treatment outcome network and completed a questionnaire about their illness and family history of illness.

Investigators found that the number of illnesses in the offspring was related to:

• Having a patient with BD from the US.

• Experiencing a childhood adversity.

• More than 20 prior episodes.

• More parental psychiatric illness.

The authors acknowledged that the results are limited because they were self-reported, but noted that findings were similar to a prior study that used direct interviews.

Citation: Post R, Alrshuler L, Kupka R, et al. More illness in offspring of bipolar patients from the U.S. compared to Europe. J Affect Disord. 2016;191:180-186.