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Course of Bipolar Disorders 

Course of Bipolar Disorders
Chapter:
Course of Bipolar Disorders
Author(s):

Luis R. Patino Duran

and Melissa P. DelBello

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190908096.003.0003
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date: 18 May 2021

Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition in most individuals, with a complex and dynamic course of illness that consists of recurrent affective episodes complicated by other psychiatric and behavioral symptoms. Before illness onset, at-risk individuals demonstrate nonspecific psychiatric symptoms that evolve into, usually, depressive episodes and ultimately mania or hypomania during adolescence. Recovery after a first manic episode is typical, but recurrences are common, and with more episodes, the risk for recurrences increases. A number of clinical factors are associated with recurrences, including co-occurring psychiatric and medical problems. Suicide is a major concern in the course of illness, so understanding risk factors may help mollify the likelihood of this outcome. Similarly, cardiovascular disease rates are elevated and associated with premature death. This chapter provides a review of the factors affecting and associated with bipolar disorder across the life span.

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