Antibiotic use linked to manic episodes in patients with serious mental illness

Patients suffering from serious mental illness who are hospitalized for mania are more likely to be taking antibiotics to treat infections than patients without a mental disorder, according to a new study published in Bipolar Disorder.

For the study, researchers examined the records of 234 psychiatric patients who had been prescribed antibiotics. For a control group, researchers looked at records of 555 patients without a mental disorder.

Analysis indicated 7.7 percent of those with mental illness hospitalized for mania were taking antibiotics, compared to 1.3 percent of those in the control group.

Robert Yolken, MD, a distinguished professor of Neurovirology in Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, said, "More research is needed, but ours suggests that if we can prevent infections and minimize antibiotic treatment in people with mental illness, then we might be able to prevent the occurrence of manic episodes."

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