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Comorbid medical illness in bipolar disorder

  • Liz Forty (a1), Anna Ulanova (a1), Lisa Jones (a2), Ian Jones (a1), Katherine Gordon-Smith (a3), Christine Fraser (a1), Anne Farmer (a4), Peter McGuffin (a4), Cathryn M. Lewis (a4), Georgina M. Hosang (a5), Margarita Rivera (a6) and Nick Craddock (a1)...

Abstract

Background

Individuals with a mental health disorder appear to be at increased risk of medical illness.

Aims

To examine rates of medical illnesses in patients with bipolar disorder (n = 1720) and to examine the clinical course of the bipolar illness according to lifetime medical illness burden.

Method

Participants recruited within the UK were asked about the lifetime occurrence of 20 medical illnesses, interviewed using the Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry (SCAN) and diagnosed according to DSM-IV criteria.

Results

We found significantly increased rates of several medical illnesses in our bipolar sample. A high medical illness burden was associated with a history of anxiety disorder, rapid cycling mood episodes, suicide attempts and mood episodes with a typically acute onset.

Conclusions

Bipolar disorder is associated with high rates of medical illness. This comorbidity needs to be taken into account by services in order to improve outcomes for patients with bipolar disorder and also in research investigating the aetiology of affective disorder where shared biological pathways may play a role.

Declarations of interest

None.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Nick Craddock, Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences, Cardiff University, Hadyn Ellis Building, Cardiff, CF24 4HQ, UK. Email: craddockn@cf.ac.uk

Footnotes

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Participants at the Birmingham and Cardiff sites were recruited to the Bipolar Disorder Research Network (BDRN). Funding for BDRN was provided by the Stanley Medical Research Institute and the Wellcome Trust. Participants at the London site were recruited to the Bipolar Association Case Control Study (BACCS) (funded by GlaxoSmithKline Research and Development). The Depression Case Control (DeCC) sample was funded by the Medical Research Council. The funding sources had no further role in study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; and in the decision to submit the paper for publication. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.

Footnotes

References

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Comorbid medical illness in bipolar disorder

  • Liz Forty (a1), Anna Ulanova (a1), Lisa Jones (a2), Ian Jones (a1), Katherine Gordon-Smith (a3), Christine Fraser (a1), Anne Farmer (a4), Peter McGuffin (a4), Cathryn M. Lewis (a4), Georgina M. Hosang (a5), Margarita Rivera (a6) and Nick Craddock (a1)...

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