OBJECTIVES:To clarify the clinical features preceding the onset of bipolar disorder (BD) has become a public health priority for the prevention of high morbidity and mortality. BD remains frequently under- or misdiagnosed, and under- or mistreated, often for years. METHODS:We assessed the predictive value of precursors and prodromes of BD. We assessed precursors of first-lifetime manic or hypomanic episodes with/without mixed features in retrospective and prospective studies. The task force evaluated and summarized separately assessments of familial risk, premorbid personality traits, retrospective, and prospective studies. RESULTS:Cyclothymic features, a family history of BD, retrospectively reported attenuated manic symptoms, prospectively identified subthreshold symptoms of hypomania, recurrence of depression, panic anxiety and psychotic features, have been identified as clinical precursors of BD. The prodromal symptoms like [hypo]mania often appears to be long enough to encourage early identification and timely intervention. CONCLUSIONS:The predictive value of any risk factor identified remains largely unknown. Prospective controlled studies are urgently needed for prevention and effective treatment.
Mood Disorders Center, New York, NY, USA.