It can be difficult to live with bipolar disorder, a serious mental illness that can cause mood swings that are both manic and depressed. Additionally, it raises the possibility of dying young. The significance of that risk and how it stacks up against other factors that can shorten life are now explained by a study. The study reveals that individuals with bipolar disorder had four to six times higher risk of dying young compared to those without the illness in two distinct groups. On the other hand, whether or not they had bipolar disorder, individuals who had ever smoked were roughly twice as likely to pass away before their time.
A team from the University of Michigan, home to one of the world’s largest longterm studies of people with bipolar disorder, reports their findings in the journal Psychiatry Research.
The stark difference in mortality, and the differences in health and lifestyle that likely contributed to it, should prompt more efforts at preventing early deaths, say the researchers.
“Bipolar disorder has long been seen as a risk factor for mortality, but always through a lens of other common causes of death,” said Anastasia Yocum, Ph.D., lead author of the study and data manager of the research program at the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program.
“We wanted to look at it by itself in comparison with conditions and lifestyle behaviors that are also linked to higher rates of premature death.”