Early stages of bipolar disorder: characterization and strategies for early intervention
Rev Bras Psiquiatr
OBJECTIVE: To characterize the early stages of bipolar disorder (BD), defined as the clinical prodrome/subsyndromal stage and first-episode phase, and strategies for their respective treatment. METHODS: A selective literature search of the PubMed, Embase, PsycINFO, and ISI databases from inception until March 2014 was performed. Included in this review were articles that a) characterized prodromal and first-episode stages of BD or b) detailed efficacy and safety/tolerability of interventions in patients considered prodromal for BD or those with only one episode of mania/hypomania. RESULTS: As research has only recently focused on characterization of the early phase of BD, there is little evidence for the effectiveness of any treatment option in the early phase of BD. Case management; individual, group, and family therapy; supportive therapy; and group psychoeducation programs have been proposed. Most evidence-based treatment guidelines for BD do not address treatment specifically in the context of the early stages of illness. Evidence for pharmacotherapy is usually presented in relation to illness polarity (i.e., manic/mixed or depressed) or treatment phase. CONCLUSIONS: Although early recognition and treatment are critical to preventing unfavorable outcomes, there is currently little evidence for interventions in these stages of BD.
School of Medicine