Objective: There is an association between bipolar disorder and autism spectrum disorders. The aim of the current study is to examine the autistic characteristics of bipolar patients and to determmine their relationship with the clinical features of the disease
Methods: Using a cross-sectional design, 148 patients with bipolar disorder (BD) were recruited to the study. The patients’ clinical status were assessed by using Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale and Young Mania Rating Scale. Autistic like traits/symptoms were measured using the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ).
Results: Within the whole group 26.4 % of the participants were classified as demonstrating higher levels of autistic traits. There was a weak positive correlation between communication/mind reading subscale of the AQ, and depression and mania severity. No significant correlations were observed between the autistic traits, and other demographic and clinical variables
Conclusions: We found a low rate of autistic traits/symptoms in patients with BD compared to other studies. There were weak positive correlations between the autistic features and depression and mania severity. Identification of autistic features in bipolar patients may help to better understand the etiology and clinical manifestation of the disorder.
Bipolar disorder, autism spectrum disorder, clinical severity