Psychotic and nonpsychotic bipolar mixed states: comparisons with manic and schizoaffective disorders

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We studied 259 female inpatients with bipolar spectrum disorders, of whom 26 (10%) were schizoaffective. Of the remaining 233, 61 (27%) met our conservatively set criteria for index mixed expisodes (simultaneous presence of depressive and manic syndromes). These patients with rigorously defined mixed states were, in turn, about equally divided between psychotic and non-psychotic subgroups. The psychotic mixed patients (n=32) were closer to the bipolar I pattern, and more often seem to come from a familial background of psychotic mood disorders; the nonpsychotic mixed patients (n=29) conformed more closely to the bipolar II pattern, and more often had a hyperthymic and cyclothymic temperament and a family background of non-psychotic disorders and substance abuse. A three-way comparison between psychotic manic (n=24), psychotic mixed (n=32), and schizoaffective (n=26) patients revealed few significant differences in temperamental, familial and course patterns. As expected, psychotic manic patients more often arose from a hyperthymic base and pursued a predominantly manic course; psychotic mixed patients were less likely to arise from such a base and more likely to pursue a mixed course. Finally, schizoaffective had earlier age at onset and longer duration of illness, suggesting that these patients had a more severe illness. Otherwise, interepisodic social adaptation was comparable in the three psychotic groups. The findings overall suggest that the presence of psychosis had relatively little impact on mixed states, which appear more based on temperamental characteristics.