Stigma experiences in bipolar patients: the impact upon functioning
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The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of self-rated stigma and functioning in patients with bipolar disorder in South Brazil. This is a cross-sectional study. Sixty participants with bipolar disorder were recruited from an outpatient Bipolar Disorder Program. Experiences with and impact of perceived stigma were evaluated using the Inventory of Stigmatizing Experiences. Functional impairment was assessed with the Functioning Assessment Short Test (FAST). Higher scores of self-perceived stigma were correlated with higher FAST scores, indicating more disability. After linear correlation analysis, current depressive symptoms, age at onset of treatment, age at diagnosis and functioning were correlated with self-perceived stigma. The study demonstrated a correlation between stigma and poor functioning in bipolar disorder. Perceived stigma is really important to individuals with bipolar disorder, both to how they experience their illness and to its results on functioning. Potential consequences of such results for mental health care professionals are discussed. Differential clinical features, sociocultural factors and the sample size limit the generalization of the present findings.
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