Seasonality and bipolar disorder: a systematic review, from admission rates to seasonality of symptoms.

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Seasonality and bipolar disorder: a systematic review, from admission rates to seasonality of symptoms.

J Affect Disord. 2014 Oct;168:210-23

Authors: Geoffroy PA, Bellivier F, Scott J, Etain B

Abstract
INTRODUCTION: Bipolar disorder (BD) is a severe mental disorder affecting 1-4% of the population worldwide. It is characterized by periods of (hypo)manic and depressive episodes. Seasonal patterns (SP) may be observed in admission rates, mood relapses and symptom fluctuations.
METHODS: We conducted a systematic review of seasonality in BD, classifying studies based on seasonal admission rates to seasonality of symptoms assessments.
RESULTS: Fifty-one papers were identified of which 32 addressed hospitalization rates by season, 6 addressed categorical diagnoses, and 13 explored symptom dimensions. Seasonal peaks for different BD mood episodes are observed worldwide and widely replicated. Manic episodes peak during spring/summer and, to a lesser extent, in autumn, depressive episodes peak in early winter and, to a lesser extent, summer, and mixed episodes peak in early spring or mid/late summer. There was a high frequency of SP for manic episodes (15%) and depressive episodes (25%), the latter being associated with a more complex clinical profile (BD II subtype, comorbid eating disorders, more relapses and rapid cycling). Finally, there was evidence for greater seasonal fluctuations in mood and behavior in individuals with BD than in those with unipolar depression or 'healthy' controls.
LIMITATIONS: Sample size, gender distribution, methodological quality and sophistication of the analytical approaches employed varied considerably.
CONCLUSIONS: There is evidence of seasonality in BD, with emerging evidence that climatic conditions may trigger BD symptoms or episodes. A better understanding of the underlying mechanisms would facilitate the development of personalized chronobiological therapeutic and preventive strategies.

PMID: 25063960 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]