Strejilevich S, Retamal-Carrasco P.  Perception of the impact of Bipolar Disorder and its diagnosis in health centers in Argentine and Chile. Vertex 2004

Perception of the impact of Bipolar Disorder and its diagnosis in health centers in Argentine and Chile.

Autores Strejilevich S, Retamal-Carrasco P. 
Año 2004
Journal  Strejilevich S, Retamal-Carrasco P. 
Volumen 14(54): 245-252
Abstract  OBJECTIVE: Early detection and treatment of Bipolar Disorder (BD) determine a significant relief in the considerable burden this disease implies. In order to adequately plan the strategies to guarantee access to treatment, it is useful to consider data which reflect the everyday vicissitudes the people affected by this pathology have to deal with. People on treatment for BD in centres in Argentina and Chile were surveyed, collecting data on their access to diagnosis and treatment. The centre surveyed in Chile, unlike those in Argentina, operates as a specialized unit. METHODOLOGY: An anonymous assisted survey was carried out; a random sample of people assisted in the participating centres with a diagnosis of BD type I or II, and stabilized for a period no shorter than 12 months, was assessed. RESULTS: 100 people were surveyed in Argentina and 69 in Chile (70% women, age 45.2 +/- 14.7, average schooling 12 years). Seventy one percent began symptoms at adult age (28,43 +/- 13 years), 14% during childhood. Age at first consultation was: 30 +/- 12.5; 85% reported having suffered psychotic symptoms, 46.4% suicide attempts, 71% hospitalisations for BD. Sixty-nine percent reported diagnostic delays longer than a year (median 8 years), 75% reported having received other diagnosis prior to their BD diagnosis (62% unipolar depression, 41% schizophrenia). Forty-one percent reported being unemployed. Delays and diagnostic errors were associated to a significant increase in the functional impact reported. CONCLUSION: Approximately 7 out of 10 people report difficulties in the access to a BD diagnosis. These difficulties magnify the already important impact of the disease.
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