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Bipolar Disorder Prevalence Hidden by Diagnostic Thresholds

(PSYCHIATRIC TIMES) - MedPage Today Action Points

o Explain to interested patients that bipolar disorder that does not quite meet diagnostic criteria appears to be common.

o Caution patients that subthreshold bipolar disorder is not well defined and does not have clear treatment guidelines.

BETHESDA, Md., May 8 -- There may be twice as many patients with bipolar spectrum disorders as generally suspected, according to a national survey.

The survey found that 4.4% of Americans have had a form of bipolar disorder at some point in their lifetime, whereas the prevalence of bipolar I and II combined over a lifetime is typically cited at about 1.9%.

The difference was attributed to the 2.4% prevalence of "subthreshold" bipolar disorder, Kathleen R. Merikangas, Ph.D., of the National Institute of Mental Health here, and colleagues, reported in the May issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

For full article, please visit:
http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/dissociative-disorders/article/1016...

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