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By just how much does bipolar disorder increase one’s risk of death?

bipolar disorder

By just how much does bipolar disorder increase one’s risk of death?


Many psychiatric conditions like bipolar disorder and depression have been associated with an increased mortality rate. However, researchers usually study these conditions, specifically bipolar disorder, alongside other factors that may cause death.

For example, it's possible for a person with mental illness to have unhealthy lifestyle practices that can contribute to higher chances of dying early. Also, those lifestyle practices may contribute an even larger quota than the mental illness itself.

So, by just how much does bipolar disorder independently increase a patient's risk of death? To have clarity, researchers have been studying 1,128 people since 2006, out of which 847 have bipolar disorder.

And here are the findings:

This is where things get interesting:

Do you see?

While we cannot say exactly how much bipolar disorder increases mortality rate by itself, patients tend to have other conditions or unhealthy habits that may make them pass on earlier.

But we can also see that bipolar disorder is a large contributor to the mortality rate. While smokers have a 2x higher mortality rate, that figure triples when they also suffer from bipolar disorder.

But here's the sad part:

We see everyone campaign against smoking every day. But little attention is given to people living with bipolar disorder about their chances of dying young. We don't see people campaigning for these ones to seek treatment, prioritize their health, and practice healthier habits with that same vigor.

Yet, it's obvious that's where most of our efforts should be going.

The bottom line

If you're living with bipolar disorder, please you do not want to underplay the severity of your condition. Of course, no one will write bipolar disorder as the cause of death in anyone's death certificate, but it sure can contribute largely to it.

Life is worth living. And there's much to be grateful for. And if you can make better choices regarding your health and lifestyle, you'll realize how much better your quality of life can get.

If you're ready to do something about your condition, we want to help. Get in touch with us at Hope Mental Health today.

Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

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