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Prevalence and Incidence of Clinical Outcomes in Patients Presenting to Secondary Mental Health Care with Mood Instability and Sleep Disturbance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Keltie McDonald, Tanya Smith, Matthew Broadbent, Rashmi Patel, John Geddes, Kate EA Saunders

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Psychiatry
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2020

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Abstract

Background: Mood instability and sleep disturbance are common symptoms in people with mental illness. Both features are clinically important and associated with poorer illness trajectories. We compared clinical outcomes in people presenting to secondary mental health care with mood instability and/or sleep disturbance with outcomes in people without either mood instability or sleep disturbance.

Methods: Data were from electronic health records of 31,391 patients ages 16-65 years presenting to secondary mental health services between 2008 and 2016. Mood instability and sleep disturbance were identified using natural language processing. Prevalence of mood instability and sleep disturbance were estimated at baseline. Incidence rate ratios were estimates for clinical outcomes including psychiatric diagnoses, prescribed medication, and hospitalisation within 2-years of presentation in persons with mood instability and/or sleep disturbance compared to individuals without either symptom.

Results: Mood instability was present in 9.58%, and sleep disturbance in 26.26% of patients within one-month of presenting to secondary mental health services. Compared with individuals without either symptom, those with mood instability and sleep disturbance showed significantly increased incidence of prescription of any psychotropic medication (IRR=7.04, 95% CI 6.53-7.59), and hospitalisation (IRR=5.32, 95% CI 5.32, 4.67-6.07) within 2-years of presentation. Incidence rates of most clinical outcomes were considerably increased among persons with both mood instability and sleep disturbance, relative to persons with only one symptom.

Conclusions: Mood instability and sleep disturbance are present in a wide range of mental disorders, beyond those in which they are conventionally considered to be symptoms. They are associated with poor outcomes, particularly when they occur together. The poor prognosis associated with mood instability and sleep disorder may be, in part, because they are often treated as secondary symptoms. Mood instability and sleep disturbance need better recognition as clinical targets for treatment in their own right.

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