, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 307-316
Date: 21 Aug 2013

Comparison of clinical characteristics of bipolar and depressive disorders in Korean clinical sample of youth: a retrospective chart review

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The purpose of this study was to compare the clinical characteristics of bipolar disorder I, II (BD I and II) and not otherwise specified (BD NOS) to those of major depressive disorder (MDD) in a clinical sample of Korean children and adolescents. This study was a cross-sectional review of longitudinal observational data. Two psychiatrists retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 198 children and adolescents (age 6–18) that were diagnosed as having bipolar or depressive disorders from March 2010 to February 2012 at Department of Psychiatry of Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Korea. Every subject’s diagnoses were reviewed and confirmed. BD I, II and MDD were assessed according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV criteria. BD NOS was defined based on the criteria for the Course and Outcome of Bipolar Youth study. Comparisons were made in demographic information, clinical characteristics, family history, and psychiatric comorbidities at baseline and during observation. Among 198 subjects, 20 (10.1 %) subjects were diagnosed as having BD I, 10 (5.1 %) as BD II, 25 (12.6 %) as BD NOS and 143 (73.7 %) as MDD. BD depression was associated with mood change while taking an antidepressant, familial bipolarity, aggressive behaviors, and atypical features. Comorbid obsessive–compulsive disorder tended to be higher in BD NOS than in MDD. Presence of psychosocial stressors was more common in MDD than in BD depression. In children and adolescents, bipolar depression is distinct from unipolar depression in family history, comorbidity, and clinical characteristics.