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Management of psychiatric treatments of patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the COVID-19 pandemic: A one-year evaluation in the pandemic.

Chronic Illness 2023 Februrary 13
OBJECTIVE: The course of bipolar disorder (BD) is sensitive to factors that may disrupt biological and social rhythms. It is important for patients diagnosed with BD to continue their follow-up and treatment during the pandemic due to personal and social effects. This study aimed to evaluate the disease course and treatment compliance of individuals diagnosed with BD during the pandemic.

METHODS: A total of 267 patients with BD were included in the study. The scales were applied by phone calls. A sociodemographic data form was filled out during the phone interviews. Diagnostic criteria for hypomanic, manic, and depressive episodes in DSM-5 were questioned and recorded through the created form.

RESULTS: During the first of the pandemic, a total of 72 (27.0%) patients had a mood episode, of which 56 (21.0%) were manic/hypomanic episodes and 16 (6.0%) depressive episodes. Also, 54.7% of the patients were able to obtain their medications thanks to the extended medication reports. Being unable to use their medications regularly, having a seasonal pattern of disease, and using an increased number of psychotropics were significant predictors of a new episode. While 74.5% of the patients wanted to talk to their psychiatrists online, only 1.1% could reach the psychiatrist online.

DISCUSSION: The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are particularly evident in patients with a seasonal pattern. Telepsychiatry practices should be actively included in clinical practice, and government policies developed for treatment compliance seem important.

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