Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Psychiatric Risks Quantified in Siblings of Mental Disorder Patients

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Psychiatric Risks Quantified in Siblings of Mental Disorder Patients

Article excerpt

VIENNA -- The brothers and sisters of patients hospitalized for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or unipolar depression are themselves at strikingly high risk of subsequently developing not only the same disorder as their sibling, but other forms of major mental illness as well, Mark Weiser, MD, reported at the annual congress of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology.

He presented the results of the first comprehensive national population-based study to examine in this fashion the extent to which heritability contributes to schizophrenia and affective disorders.

This nested case-control study included all siblings of 6,111 Israeli patients hospitalized for schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, or unipolar depression. The siblings' rates of and reasons for subsequent psychiatric hospitalization were compared with those of 74,988 age- and gender-matched Israeli controls. All admission and discharge diagnoses were made by board-certified psychiatrists.

Siblings of individuals with schizophrenia were at 9.4-fold increased risk of subsequent hospitalization for schizophrenia, 8.5-fold relative risk for schizoaffective disorder, and 7.7-fold increased risk for bipolar disorder, compared with controls.

Moreover, siblings of patients with bipolar disorder were not only at 8.4-fold increased risk of subsequent hospitalization for that disease, they also were at 4.2-fold greater risk than controls for schizophrenia and 7.6-fold increased risk for hospitalization for other psychiatric disorders, a grab bag category that included anxiety disorders, dissociative disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, pervasive developmental disorders, and personality disorders, according to Dr. Weiser, professor of psychiatry at Tel Aviv University.

Siblings of patients hospitalized for unipolar depression were at 6.2-fold relative risk of subsequent hospitalization for schizophrenia and 9. …

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