Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the co-morbidity of adult separation anxiety in bipolar patients and evaluate its effects on the course of disorder and functionality.
Method: A total of 70 patients who have been regularly followed in the Bipolar Disorder Unit were included in the study. The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV - Axis I and Axis II disorders and demographic form were used. Separation anxiety was investigated by the Structured Clinical Interview for Separation Anxiety Symptoms (SCI-SAS) and the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A) was filled out by an interviewer. In addition, all patients completed the Bipolar Disorder Functioning Questionnaire (BDFQ), Separation Anxiety Symptom Inventory (SASI) and Adult Separation Anxiety Questionnaire (ASA).
Results: The prevalence rate of co-morbid adult separation anxiety disorder (A-SepAD) was 54% (n = 38) in our sample. Age of onset was in adulthood among 36% of patients with a diagnosis of A-SepAD and the others (64%) were childhood-onset. Co-morbidity of personality disorders was more common in bipolar patients with childhood-onset separation anxiety disorder (C-SepAD). The lifetime prevalence of co-morbidity of specific phobias and number of suicide attempts were significantly higher in the group with A-SepAD. Functionality loss due to feeling of stigmatization was higher, and total functionality as measured by the BDFQ was found to be lower in bipolar patients with A-SepAD.
Conclusion: The results of this study have shown that 54% of bipolar patients had a diagnosis of A-SepAD. A-SepAD seems to increase the number of suicide attempts and have negative effects on functionality. A-SepAD should be assessed in regular interviews of patients with bipolar disorder.