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Logo of bmcpsycBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Psychiatry
BMC Psychiatry. 2011; 11: 59.
Published online 2011 April 14. doi:  10.1186/1471-244X-11-59
PMCID: PMC3094285

ESPECTRA: Searching the Bipolar Spectrum in Eating Disorder patients



Bipolar Disorder (BD) is a chronic, recurrent and highly prevalent illness. Despite the need for correct diagnosis to allow proper treatment, studies have shown that reaching a diagnosis can take up to ten years due to the lack of recognition of the broader presentations of BD. Frequent comorbidities with other psychiatric disorders are a major cause of misdiagnosis and warrant thorough evaluation.


ESPECTRA (Occurrence of Bipolar Spectrum Disorders in Eating Disorder Patients) is a single-site cross-sectional study involving a comparison group, designed to evaluate the prevalence of bipolar spectrum in an eating disorder sample. Women aged 18-45 years will be evaluated using the SCID-P and Zurich criteria for diagnosis and the HAM-D, YOUNG, SCI-MOODS, HCL-32, BIS-11, BSQ, WHOQoL and EAS instruments for rating symptoms and measuring clinical correlates.


The classificatory systems in psychiatry are based on categorical models that have been criticized for simplifying the diagnosis and leading to an increase in comorbidities. Some dimensional approaches have been proposed aimed at improving the validity and reliability of psychiatric disorder assessments, especially in conditions with high rates of comorbidity such as BD and Eating Disorder (ED). The Bipolar Spectrum (BS) remains under-recognized in clinical practice and its definition is not well established in current diagnostic guidelines. Broader evaluation of psychiatric disorders combining categorical and dimensional views could contribute to a more realistic understanding of comorbidities and help toward establishing a prognosis.

Articles from BMC Psychiatry are provided here courtesy of BioMed Central