Declaration of interest None.
Aims and method The mean delay for bipolar disorder diagnosis is 10 years. Identification of patients with previous hypomania is challenging, sometimes resulting in misdiagnosis. The aims of this study were: (a) to estimate the proportion of primary care patients with depression currently taking antidepressants who have undiagnosed bipolar disorder and (b) to compare a brief 3-item manic features questionnaire with the Hypomania Checklist (HCL-13). The sample comprised patients with a recorded diagnosis of depression, either on long-term antidepressant therapy or with previous multiple courses of antidepressants.
Results Of 149 participants assessed, 24 (16.1%) satisfied criteria for bipolar disorder. Areas under the curve (AUC) for the 3-item questionnaire and the HCL-13 were similar (0.79 and 0.72, respectively) but positive predictive values (PPV) were low.
Clinical implications Bipolar disorder may be underdiagnosed in primary care. A 3-item questionnaire could be used by general practitioners to screen for bipolar disorder in their patients with depression.
- © 2017 The Authors
This is an open-access article published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.