Bipolar disorder and comorbidity

Disturbo bipolare e comorbidità

S. Calossi, A. Fagiolini

Dipartimento Interaziendale di Salute Mentale, Università di Siena, Aziende USL 7 e AOUS Senese Corrispondenza: Sara Calossi, Dipartimento Interaziendale di Salute Mentale, Servizio Psichiatrico Diagnosi e Cura, "Policlinico Le Scotte", Siena, Italia - Tel. 0577 586276 - E-mail:

Bipolar Disorder is a psychiatric illness with a lifetime prevalence of about 2% in the general population and a recurrent course. Bipolar Disorder is one of the most frequent, severe and costly psychiatric diseases, and is associated with high rates of disability and suicidally and with multiple medical and psychiatric comorbilities. It is estimated that at least 50% of patients with Bipolar Disorder meets the criteria for other mental or organic disorders. Patients with bipolar disorder suffer a disproportionate burden of cardiovascular and endocrine illness compared the general population. While the exact pathogenesis of this excess morbidity is not completely known, biologic, behavioral, and sociodemographic factors have been identified. A growing body of evidence suggests that several of the medications that are commonly used to treat bipolar disorder may contribute to comorbid medical illness. While the balance between risks and benefits of medication treatment in bipolar disorder is usually favorable, a thorough knowledge of such risks is imperative. It is paramount to monitor the possible side effects induced by medication treatment, and to prioritize, whenever possible, the use of medications with lower medical risk.

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