Prodromal symptoms of Chinese patients with bipolar disorder

Tong Guo, Yuan Yang, Qian Zhao, Lei Zhang, Chee H. Ng, Teris Cheung, Yang Li, Xue Quan Zhu, Xiao Hong Li, Yu Tao Xiang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This study aimed to assess the clinical phenomenology and characteristics of prodromal symptoms in Chinese patients with bipolar disorder (BPD) prior to their index mood episode. Methods: Semi-structured interviews [Bipolar Prodrome Symptom Scale-Retrospective (BPSS-R)] were administered to patients within 3 years of BPD (I and II) onset. Results: 120 stable inpatients and outpatients were included (65% males, mean age: 26.5±10.0 years). Feeling extremely energetic (61.8%), overly cheerful (49.1%), racing thoughts (48.2%), overly talkative (47.3%), and decreased need for sleep (43.6%) most frequently preceded the first (hypo)manic episode, whereas depressed mood (78.5%), tiredness (53.9%), reduction of enjoyment (52.3%), trouble concentrating (49.2%) and insomnia (47.7%) often occurred prior to the index depressive episode. The prevalence of anxiety or nervousness (p = 0.009), social isolation (p = 0.004), and losing temper (p < 0.001) differed significantly depending on the different episodes. Prior to any depressive episode, insomnia (p = 0.035) lasted significantly longer and sleeping too much (p = 0.033) was more severe, whereas oppositionality (p < 0.001), hallucinations (p = 0.024) and psychosis index score (p = 0.044) were more severe before any (hypo) manic episode. Furthermore, depressed mood (p = 0.006) was more frequent prior to depression, while anxiety or nervousness (p = 0.018), oppositionality (p = 0.001), and psychosis index score (p = 0.009) were more frequent before any (hypo) manic episode. Conclusions: Characteristic affective and psychotic symptoms, including depressed mood and subthreshold hypo (manic) symptoms occurred in the prodromal phase. The pre-depression prodromal symptoms lasted longer than the pre-(hypo) mania prodromal symptoms. Our findings indicated that identifying prodromal symptoms of BPD may be beneficial for early diagnosis and intervention before the development of full episodes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)908-915
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Mania
  • Prodrome, Early recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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