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May 25, 2005

The Increasing Medical Burden in Bipolar Disorder

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pa.

JAMA. 2005;293(20):2528-2530. doi:10.1001/jama.293.20.2528

Bipolar disorder is one of the world’s 10 most disabling conditions, taking away years of healthy functioning from individuals who have the illness.1 With no predilection for nation, race, or socioeconomic status, classic manic-depressive illness has a prevalence of approximately 1% across all populations.2 However, the personal and societal costs of bipolar disorders are not limited to the more traditional bipolar I subtype, which includes episodes of full-blown mania and major depression.3 Bipolar II disorder, involving episodes of less severe hypomania and major depression, and bipolar spectrum subtypes, which probably bring the prevalence of all bipolar disorders to more than 3% of US individuals, can also be devastating conditions. All bipolar disorders are chronically recurring illnesses associated with substantial morbidity and mortality.4-6