Review
Copyright ©2014 Baishideng Publishing Group Co., Limited. All rights reserved.
World J Psychiatr. Mar 22, 2014; 4(1): 1-12
Published online Mar 22, 2014. doi: 10.5498/wjp.v4.i1.1
Impact of living with bipolar patients: Making sense of caregivers’ burden
Maurizio Pompili, Désirée Harnic, Xenia Gonda, Alberto Forte, Giovanni Dominici, Marco Innamorati, Konstantinos N Fountoulakis, Gianluca Serafini, Leo Sher, Luigi Janiri, Zoltan Rihmer, Mario Amore, Paolo Girardi
Maurizio Pompili, Alberto Forte, Giovanni Dominici, Marco Innamorati, Gianluca Serafini, Paolo Girardi, Department of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Sensory Organs, Suicide Prevention Center, Sant’Andrea Hospital, Sapienza University of Rome, 00189 Rome, Italy
Désirée Harnic, Luigi Janiri, Department of Psychiatry, Catholic University Medical School, 00189 Rome, Italy
Xenia Gonda, Department of Clinical and Theoretical Mental Health and Department of Pharmacodynamics Semmelweis University, H-1086 Budapest, Hungary
Xenia Gonda, Neuropsychopharmacology and Neurochemistry Research Group, National Academy of Sciences and Semmelweis University, H-1086 Budapest, Hungary
Xenia Gonda, National Institute of Psychiatry and Addictions, Laboratory for Suicide Research and Prevention, H-1135 Budapest, Hungary
Konstantinos N Fountoulakis, 3rd Department of Psychiatry, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, GR-54006 Thessaloniki, Greece
Zoltan Rihmer, Department of Clinical and Theoretical Mental Health, Semmelweis University, H-1125 Budapest, Hungary
Zoltan Rihmer, National Institute of Psychiatry and Addictions, Laboratory for Suicide Research and Prevention, H-1135 Budapest, Hungary
Leo Sher, Department of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai , New York, NY 10029, United States
Mario Amore, Department of Neuroscience, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics, Maternal and Child Health, Section of Psychiatry, University of Genova, I-16146 Genova, Italy
Author contributions: Pompili M provided the design of the study; all the authors contributed to this paper equally.
Correspondence to: Maurizio Pompili, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Sensory Organs, Suicide Prevention Center, Sant’Andrea Hospital, Sapienza University of Rome, Via di Grottarossa 1035-1039, 00189 Rome, Italy. maurizio.pompili@uniroma1.it
Telephone: +39-6-33775675 Fax: +39-6-33775342
Received: November 7, 2013
Revised: December 19, 2013
Accepted: January 13, 2014
Published online: March 22, 2014
Abstract

The aim of the present review was to examine objective and subjective burdens in primary caregivers (usually family members) of patients with bipolar disorder (BD) and to list which symptoms of the patients are considered more burdensome by the caregivers. In order to provide a critical review about caregiver’s burden in patients with bipolar disorder, we performed a detailed PubMed, BioMedCentral, ISI Web of Science, PsycINFO, Elsevier Science Direct and Cochrane Library search to identify all papers and book chapters in English published during the period between 1963 and November 2011. The highest levels of distress were caused by the patient’s behavior and the patient’s role dysfunction (work, education and social relationships). Furthermore, the caregiving role compromises other social roles occupied by the caregiver, becoming part of the heavy social cost of bipolar affective disorder. There is a need to better understand caregivers’ views and personal perceptions of the stresses and demands arising from caring for someone with BD in order to develop practical appropriate interventions and to improve the training of caregivers.

Keywords: Bipolar disorder, Caregivers, Burden, Prevention

Core tip: This broad overview suggests that there is vast literature about the consequences the caregivers of patients with a bipolar disorder (BD) are confronted with, the distress they experience and the coping styles they use to deal with the consequences. Available data suggest that caregiver burden is high and largely neglected in BD. Informal caregivers are central to the wellbeing of patients, but at the same time researchers, policy makers and formal service providers often take for granted their co-operation and welfare.