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Ortner, J; Bengesser, SA; Wagner-Skacel, J; Fellendorf, FT; Fleischmann, E; Ratzenhofer, M; Lenger, M; Queissner, R; Tmava-Berisha, A; Platzer, M; Maget, A; Pilz, R; Birner, A; Reininghaus, E; Dalkner, N.
[COVID-19 and Bipolar Affective Disorder: Subjective Changes in Lifestyle Variables During the First Lockdown During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Austria].
Fortschr Neurol Psychiatr. 2023; 91(1-02):32-44 Doi: 10.1055/a-1871-9628 [OPEN ACCESS]
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Führende Autor*innen der Med Uni Graz
Bengesser Susanne
Co-Autor*innen der Med Uni Graz
Birner Armin
Dalkner Nina
Fellendorf Frederike
Fleischmann Eva
Lenger Melanie
Maget Alexander
Pilz Rene
Platzer Martina
Queissner Robert
Ratzenhofer Michaela
Reininghaus Eva
Tmava-Berisha Adelina
Wagner-Skacel Jolana

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INTRODUCTION: The COVID-19 pandemic with its protective measures (e. g. lockdown) had far-reaching effects on everyone's well-being. The aim of this study was to examine lifestyle variables during the first Austrian lockdown in patients with bipolar disorder in comparison to a healthy control group and to assess subjective changes caused by the pandemic. METHOD: At the beginning of April 2020, an online survey of n=75 participants (35 people with bipolar disorder and 40 healthy controls) with standardized questionnaires (Beck Depression Inventory-2, Food Craving Inventory, Altman Self Rating Mania Scale) as well as non-standardized COVID-19-specific questions on the subject of "Psychological stress and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in bipolar disorder" was created and distributed via LimeSurvey. RESULTS: Both groups reported a negative impact on their mental health. The participants with bipolar disorder showed significantly higher values in the Beck Depression Inventory-2 score (p<0,001), in emotional distress due to social distancing (p=0,003) and significantly lower values in muscle-strengthening exercise (p=0,039) and in sport units (p=0,003) compared to the control group. In addition, patients with bipolar disorder smoked more often than individuals of the control group. People with bipolar disorder were 42,9% more likely to report they were less efficient during the pandemic, and 22,9% experienced weight gain compared to before the pandemic. The control group, on the other hand, was less efficient at 17,5% and 5,0% reported weight gain. However, a comparison with pre-pandemic data showed a decrease in food craving in both groups. CONCLUSION: This study provided first evidence of self-reported adverse effects on mental stress and lifestyle in people with bipolar disorder at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Psychiatric care and early interventions for patients with bipolar disorder would be particularly important in times of crisis in order to help maintain a healthy lifestyle and thus counteract unfavourable developments.

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bipolar disorder
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