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Suicide Risk in Comorbid Bipolar Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Systematic Review

Andrea Amerio
Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine 2019, 41 (2): 133-137

Introduction: The co-occurrence of bipolar disorder (BD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) seemed to be a poor prognostic factor associated with greater disability, lower social and occupational functioning, poorer treatment response, and higher suicidal ideas and attempts compared to BD patients.

Materials and Methods: A systematic review was conducted on the risk of suicide in BD-OCD patients compared to BD patients. Relevant papers published through August 2018 were identified searching the electronic databases MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and the Cochrane Library.

Results: In all cases, diagnoses were according to the standard Diagnostic and Statistical Manual criteria and were established using validated assessment scales. More than 80% of the selected studies presented higher rates of history of suicide attempts and lifetime depressive episodes in BD-OCD patients compared to non-comorbid patients.

Conclusions: Osler's view that medicine should be a treatment of diseases, not of symptoms, is consistent with the approach of mood stabilization as the first objective in apparent BD-OCD patients, as opposed to immediate treatment with antidepressants. In line with that, especially in comorbid patients, lithium may be preferred because of its proven anti-suicidal effect.


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