Bipolar disorder linked to increased alcohol-related mortality

  • 2 Min To Read
  • 7 months ago

A recent study published in the journal BMJ Mental Health has found that individuals with bipolar disorder are at a significantly higher risk of early death compared to the general population. The researchers analyzed data from 47,018 people with bipolar disorder in Finland between 2004 and 2018 and tracked the number of deaths that occurred over an eight-year period.

The study revealed that individuals with bipolar disorder were at a six-fold higher risk of dying early compared to the general population. Out of the 47,018 individuals with bipolar disorder, 7% of them died during the study period. The average age at the time of death was 50 years, and 65% of the deaths were among men.

The leading causes of death among individuals with bipolar disorder were somatic in most cases, with alcohol-related diseases being the primary cause of death. Alcohol accounted for 29% of the deaths, followed by heart disease and stroke at 27%, cancer at 22%, respiratory diseases at 4%, and diabetes at 2%. Liver diseases were the leading cause of alcohol-related deaths, followed by accidental alcohol poisonings and alcohol dependence.

In addition to somatic causes, suicide was also a significant cause of death among individuals with bipolar disorder. Close to half of the deaths by suicide occurred after overdosing on prescription medicines, including medications commonly prescribed to treat bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterized by extreme mood swings and changes in energy levels. It affects approximately 1% of the world's population. The exact cause of bipolar disorder is still unknown, but experts believe it is a combination of genetic and environmental factors that affect brain function and chemistry.

The researchers emphasized the need for personalized approaches to prediction and prevention of suicide in individuals with bipolar disorder. They also highlighted the importance of addressing alcohol abuse and substance-related issues, as they contribute significantly to excess mortality in this population.

Overall, this study sheds light on the increased risk of early death among individuals with bipolar disorder, particularly due to alcohol-related diseases and suicide. The findings highlight the importance of targeted interventions to address these issues and reduce excess mortality in this population.


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