Early-onset bipolar disorder: A family treatment perspective
ABSTRACT Mood disorder symptoms and their associated functional impairments are hypothesized to come about as the result of the conjoint, interactive influences of genetic, biological, and psychological vulnerabilities, family distress, and life stress at different points of development. We discuss a developmental psychopathology model that delineates pathways to high family conflict and mood exacerbation among early-onset bipolar patients. New data from a treatment development study indicate that adolescent bipolar patients in high expressed emotion families have more symptomatic courses of illness over 2 years than adolescents in low expressed emotion families. Chronic and episodic stressors are also correlated with lack of mood improvement while adolescents are in treatment. Family-focused treatment (FFT) given in conjunction with pharmacotherapy appears to ameliorate the course of bipolar disorder in adults. This treatment has recently been modified to address the developmental presentation of bipolar disorder among adolescents. We present data from an open trial of FFT and pharmacotherapy (N = 20) indicating that bipolar adolescents stabilize in mania, depression, and parent-rated problem behaviors over 2 years. Future research should focus on clarifying the developmental pathways to early-onset bipolar disorder and the role of protective factors and preventative psychosocial interventions in delaying the first onset of the disorder.
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ABSTRACT: High expressed emotion (EE) attitudes among parents are associated with an increased likelihood of relapse among bipolar patients, but the origins of these attitudes are unclear. This study examined characteristics of bipolar disorder in adolescents that might be associated with high EE attitudes among parents. We hypothesized that an earlier onset of mood disorder and greater current illness severity would predict higher levels of criticism and emotional overinvolvement among parents. Demographic, diagnostic, and EE data were collected from interviews with parents of 44 bipolar adolescents (mean age 14.5 yrs.). Current illness severity and functioning were not associated with high-EE attitudes. Parents of girls, however, were more likely to be high in criticism than parents of boys. Parents of girls expressed more critical comments when the child had an adolescent compared to a childhood onset of bipolar disorder, whereas the reverse pattern was evident among parents of boys. We encourage prospective investigations of the developmental correlates of parental EE attitudes in larger, more heterogeneous samples of bipolar adolescents and children.Journal of Clinical Psychology 04/2008; 64(4):438-49. DOI:10.1002/jclp.20463 · 2.12 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Parent-child relationships may have a significant effect on illness characteristics of children with pediatric bipolar disorder (PBD), and these relationships may, in turn, be affected by the child's illness. We characterized maternal reports of parent-child relationships using the five-factor Parent-Child Relationship Questionnaire (PCRQ) in 60 families (30 PBD youth and 30 matched controls). Data on child proband and parental psychopathology were also obtained. Compared to controls, parent-child relationships in the PBD group were characterized by significantly less warmth, affection, and intimacy, and more quarreling and forceful punishment. Among PBD participants, elevated symptoms of mania, comorbid ADHD, an earlier age of illness onset, living in a single parent home, and the presence of a parental mood disorder were associated with greater parent-child relationship difficulties. These findings have implications for the development of interventions that focus on the quality of parent-child relationships, in addition to symptom management, in the treatment of PBD.Journal of Clinical Psychology 04/2008; 64(4):422-37. DOI:10.1002/jclp.20470 · 2.12 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Suicidality among youth with bipolar disorder is an extreme, but largely unaddressed, public health problem. The current study examined the psychosocial characteristics differentiating youth with varying severities of suicidal ideation that may dictate targets for suicide prevention interventions.Methods Participants included 72 youth aged 7–13 (M=9.19, SD=1.61) with DSM-IV-TR bipolar I, II, or NOS and a parent/caregiver. Current suicidal ideation and correlates were assessed at intake, including: demographics and clinical factors (diagnosis, symptom severity, psychiatric comorbidity); child factors (cognitive risk and quality of life); and family factors (parenting stress, family cohesion, and family rigidity).ResultsCurrent ideation was prevalent in this young sample: 41% endorsed any ideation, and 31% endorsed active forms. Depression symptoms, quality of life, hopelessness, self-esteem, and family rigidity differentiated youth with increasing ideation severity. Separate logistic regressions examined all significant child- and family-level factors, controlling for demographic and clinical variables. Greater family rigidity and lower self-esteem remained significant predictors of current planful ideation. Diagnosis, index episode, comorbidity, and mania severity did not differentiate non-ideators from those with current ideation.LimitationsLimitations include the small sample to examine low base-rate severe ideation, cross-sectional analyses and generalizability of findings beyond the outpatient clinical sample.Conclusions Findings underscore the importance of assessing and addressing suicidality in preadolescent youth with bipolar disorder, before youth progress to more severe suicidal behaviors. Results also highlight child self-esteem and family rigidity as key treatment targets to reduce suicide risk in pediatric bipolar disorder.Journal of Affective Disorders 11/2014; 173. DOI:10.1016/j.jad.2014.10.058 · 3.71 Impact Factor