Year: 2022 Source: World Journal of Psychiatry. (2022). 12(9), 1204-1232. DOI: 10.5498/wjp.v12.i9.1204 SIEC No: 20221055
BACKGROUND Lifetime psychotic symptoms are present in over half of the patients with bipolar disorder (BD) and can have an adverse effect on its course, outcome, and treatment. However, despite a considerable amount of research, the impact of psychotic symptoms on BD remains unclear, and there are very few systematic reviews on the subject. AIM To examine the extent of psychotic symptoms in BD and their impact on several aspects of the illness. METHODS The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses guidelines were followed. An electronic literature search of six English-language databases and a manual search was undertaken to identify published articles on psychotic symptoms in BD from January 1940 to December 2021. Combinations of the relevant Medical Subject Headings terms were used to search for these studies. Articles were selected after a screening phase, followed by a review of the full texts of the articles. Assessment of the methodological quality of the studies and the risk of bias was conducted using standard tools. RESULTS This systematic review included 339 studies of patients with BD. Lifetime psychosis was found in more than a half to two-thirds of the patients, while current psychosis was found in a little less than half of them. Delusions were more common than hallucinations in all phases of BD. About a third of the patients reported first-rank symptoms or mood-incongruent psychotic symptoms, particularly during manic episodes. Psychotic symptoms were more frequent in bipolar type I compared to bipolar type II disorder and in mania or mixed episodes compared to bipolar depression. Although psychotic symptoms were not more severe in BD, the severity of the illness in psychotic BD was consistently greater. Psychosis was usually associated with poor insight and a higher frequency of agitation, anxiety, and hostility but not with psychiatric comorbidity. Psychosis was consistently linked with increased rates and the duration of hospitalizations, switching among patients with depression, and poorer outcomes with mood-incongruent symptoms. In contrast, psychosis was less likely to be accompanied by a rapid-cycling course, longer illness duration, and heightened suicidal risk. There was no significant impact of psychosis on the other parameters of course and outcome. CONCLUSION Though psychotic symptoms are very common in BD, they are not always associated with an adverse impact on BD and its course and outcome.