Author(s): Bebbington P, Ramana R, Bebbington P, Ramana R
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Abstract This paper reviews the current position of studies on the epidemiology of bipolar affective disorder. A disorder that cannot be recognized until sometime after its onset poses special difficulties for epidemiological study. These are discussed and attempts made to solve them. Community psychiatric surveys suggest a morbid risk of bipolar disorder of around 2-2.5\%, but probably include many false-positives. Studies of treated cases indicate a morbid risk of 0.5\%, but will miss untreated cases. It is probably reasonable to suggest a compromise value of 1-1.5\%; bipolar disorder is thus still a rare condition. It is possible to quantify the unipolar-bipolar conversion rate, which is of the order of 5\%, and is of particular interest that female sufferers have proportionately fewer manic episodes. Age at onset, possible cohort phenomena, comorbidity, and sociodemographic correlates are discussed.
This article was published in Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol
and referenced in Journal of Psychiatry