bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder or manic–depressive disorder, also referred to as bipolar affective disorder or manic depression, is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a category of mood disorders defined by the presence of one or more episodes of abnormally elevated energy levels, cognition, and mood with or without one or more depressive episodes. The elevated moods are clinically referred to as mania or, if milder, hypomania. Individuals who experience manic episodes also commonly experience depressive episodes, or symptoms, or a mixed state in which features of both mania and depression are present at the same time. These events are usually separated by periods of “normal” mood; but, in some individuals, depression and mania may rapidly alternate, which is known as rapid cycling. Extreme manic episodes can sometimes lead to such psychotic symptoms as delusions and hallucinations. The disorder has been subdivided into bipolar I, bipolar II, cyclothymia, and other types, based on the nature and severity of mood episodes experienced; the range is often described as the bipolar spectrum.

Our bipolar disorder Blogs

Mood Matters: mood instability is common and associated with poor outcomes

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Farhana Mann summarises an observational study of mood instability in people with mental illness, which explores its relationship with days spent in hospital, frequency of admissions, the likelihood of being sectioned and the chance of being prescribed antipsychotics and mood stabilisers.

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Joining the dots: mental and physical health

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Lia Ali and colleagues from the IMPARTS project present the findings of their group discussions about a recent review of mortality in mental disorders. Along the way she discusses the staff training they carried out and the tweet chat they ran to consider the implications of this research, both to individuals and on the global burden of disease.

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Smoking cessation for people with severe mental illness

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Sally Adams appraises and summarises the SCIMITAR pilot RCT, which investigates smoking cessation for people with severe mental ill health. The paper presents a highly promising bespoke intervention for smokers with bipolar disorder, psychosis or schizophrenia.

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Premature mortality in bipolar disorder

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Elena Marcus appraises a recent systematic review and meta-analysis of premature mortality in bipolar affective disorder, which finds that people with bipolar disorder have increased mortality rates compared with the general population.

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Peer-led self-management for mental health: impressive programme, not so sure about the research

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Lucy Simons and Chris Sampson appraise a recent evaluation of peer-led self-management training for people with severe mental illness.

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Screening for bipolar spectrum disorders (MDQ, BSDS and HCL-32)

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Elena Marcus appraises a recent meta-analysis of screening for bipolar spectrum disorders, which concludes that the MDQ and HCL-32 tools are supported by more evidence than the BSDS tool.

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The antidepressant effects of ketamine are confirmed by a new systematic review and meta-analysis

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Helge Hasselmann summarises a new systematic review and meta-analysis, which confirms the antidepressant effects of ketamine.

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Poor oral health and severe mental illness: what are the links?

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Helge Hasselmann summarises a recent systematic review of poor oral health and severe mental illness (SMI), which found that people with SMI were 2.8 times more likely to have lost all their teeth, and had more missing, decayed or filled teeth.

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People with severe mental illness are more likely to be victims of violent and non-violent crime

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Vishal Bhavsar summarises a recent cross-sectional study of violent and non-violent crime against adults with severe mental illness, which finds that service users were five times more likely to be victims of assault, and three times more likely to be victims of household acquisitive crime.

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Searching for the cost of bipolar disorder

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Bipolar disorder is associated with high economic costs…or is it? Chris Sampson reports on a new systematic review, which highlights limitations in our understanding.

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