Results of a study suggest that bipolar disorder has a high relapse rate. In the study, researchers found evidence that three fourths of the hospitalisations for treatment of bipolar disorder are repeat admissions.
The study findings were reported at the American Psychiatric Association's annual meeting in San Francisco.
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, typically causes wide mood swings - sometimes from extreme incapacitating depression to euphoric recklessness.
Hospitalisation patterns assessed
"It is well known that bipolar disorder is a recurrent disease, so we considered it important to assess hospitalisation patterns as an indication of the course of illness," principal investigator Dr Urban Ösby from Danderyd University Hospital, Sweden, told Reuters Health.
Despite an overall drop in the number of psychiatric hospitalisations in Sweden, their findings showed that the rate of admissions for treatment of bipolar disorder remained steady between 1997 and 2005, the psychiatrist noted.
Furthermore, he said, "When we followed up a cohort of all patients with their first bipolar disorder admission in the year 2000 for 5 years, 60% had no readmissions, and 15% of the patients had 66 of the readmissions."
The average readmission rate per patient during those 5 years was 1.2 following a first hospitalisation; the rate was higher at 1.9 per patient following a second admission.
Roughly half the hospital admissions were for manic episodes, and one quarter were for depression; the remainder was diagnosed as mixed episodes and "unspecified/other."
These findings, the investigators conclude, support that bipolar disorder has a high relapse rate. - (Reuters Health, May 2009)
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