Over one-third of young people who were treated for bipolar disorder developed schizophrenia within eight years, according to a study in Schizophrenia Research. In addition, treatment with antipsychotics was “significantly associated” with poor psychosocial adaptation.
The team of psychiatrists from a hospital at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in France did a follow-up assessment of 55 adolescents hospitalized between 1993 and 2004 for bipolar disorder. Of these, 35 (63.6%) were still suffering symptoms of bipolar disorder, while 20 (36.4%) had begun presenting symptoms of schizophrenia.
“Psychosocial adaptation was moderate to poor for most patients, and 91% of the patients had at least one relapse,” wrote the researchers. Along with low socio-economic status, intellectual disability, negative life events and a history of sexual abuse, treatment with antipsychotics was “significantly associated with poorer psychosocial adaptation.”
Seven people at follow-up were not taking any psychiatric medications of any kind, but the researchers did not provide any distinct analysis on how those people had fared.