Bipolar women have a marked vulnerability to puerperal psychosis, an episode of mania or psychosis following childbirth. We have conducted a family history study to examine the question of whether a vulnerability to puerperal episodes of illness is a marker for a more familial form of bipolar disorder. A consecutive series of 103 bipolar disorder probands were recruited in a lithium clinic and given a semi-structured interview, including a detailed family history. For the 52 female probands, information was also obtained about the relationship of episodes to childbirth. The morbid risk of affective disorder in first-degree relatives of bipolar women who had suffered an episode of mania, hypomania or schizoaffective mania with onset within 6 weeks of childbirth was significantly higher than that in relatives of parous bipolar women with no episodes in relation to childbirth (P = 0.0077). Despite relatively small numbers, this study provides evidence to support the hypothesis that puerperal episodes identify a more familial subtype of bipolar disorder. (C) 2002 Lippincott Williams Wilkins.
|Number of pages||4|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Sep 2002|
- affective disorder
- family study
- puerperal psychosis