Depression, Bipolar & Grief Counselling Blog

Somatic illness and Bipolar Disorder

Lee Hopkins - photographer, counsellor

Why are somatic diseases in bipolar disorder insufficiently treated?

This is the question a team of researchers asked themselves.

They had noted that individuals with a serious mental illness (SMI)—and bipolar disorder is one such illness—experienced a shortened life expectancy of anything from 10 to 20 years compared to the general population.

These somatic illnesses were not just self-harm incidents, but more numerous were incidents such as cardiovascular, respiratory and cancer diseases.

Furthermore, existing literature suggested that bipolar disorder patients received fewer or delayed medical interventions, compared to those not diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

The researchers found that despite improvements in the healthcare of patients overall, patients with bipolar disorder had not benefitted from the significant improvement that has taken place over time for all somatic illnesses. This is especially true for countries where there is equal and free access to healthcare services.

You can read the complete journal article on The International Journal of Bipolar Disorders.

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