Adult Bipolar Patients Stand Exposed to Anxiety or Depression Following Mania: Study
Bipolar disorder, a serious mental illness characterized by recurrent periods of mania and depression, affects an estimated 5.7 million people in the United States. Since mania involves having an elevated or irritable mood, and depression mood disturbances, bipolar disorder is considered a type of mood disorder, says a report on the website of the Columbia University Medical Center.
According to a recent study by the Columbia University Medical Center, adult bipolar patients are likely to develop anxiety and depression following an episode of mania. The study, published in the Molecular Psychiatry in May 2016, may add more value to the earlier understanding of bipolar disorder.
The study, titled “Reexamining associations between mania, depression, anxiety and substance use disorders: results from a prospective national cohort,” collated data from a national survey of more than 34,000 adults.
Depressed people at higher risk of developing mania or anxiety
The researchers interviewed the participants to determine the incidences of manic episodes. After three years, a second round of interview was conducted to determine if they had undergone any subsequent incidence of depression or anxiety. The researchers found that the patients who suffered from mania had an approximately equal risk of developing depression or anxiety. Moreover, the participants with depression had a significantly higher risk of developing mania or anxiety compared to those without depression.
Lead author Mark Olfson, M.D., M.P.H., professor of psychiatry at the Columbia University Medical Center, research psychiatrist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, said, “Although it has long been widely assumed that bipolar disorder represents repeated episodes of mania and depression as poles along a single continuum of mood, the clinical reality is often far more complex.”
“The link between mania and anxiety suggests that patients whose main symptom is anxiety should be carefully assessed for a history of mania before starting treatment,” he said.
Depression and anxiety commonly co-occur
The findings depicted semblance with earlier reports that depression and anxiety commonly co-occur; plus depression and a common form of anxiety, known as generalized anxiety disorder, behave as the same genetic condition.
“For years, we may have missed opportunities to evaluate the effects of treatments for bipolar disorder on anxiety. The results of our study suggest that researchers should begin to ask whether, and to what extent, treatments for bipolar disorder relieve anxiety as well as mania and depression,” Olfson said.
The study also revealed that there is a close connection between depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder associated with mania.
Dealing with bipolar disorder
The researchers called for a broader clinical definition of bipolar disorder that includes episodes of mania along with anxiety or depression. They felt that it might help in an earlier identification of the disorder which can further help to incorporate different lines of treatment.
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