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Patients of bipolar disorder prone to traumatic brain injury, says study

Patients of bipolar disorder prone to traumatic brain injury, says study

Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder causing unusual shifts in mood, energy levels, activities, and the ability to carry out everyday chores. Also known as manic-depressive illness, it may result in a strained relationship, poor job or school performance, and in extreme cases, suicide.

Effective treatments—including medicine and talk therapy or a combination of both—to manage the symptoms of this mental disorder are available, but pushing the treatment to a later date can exacerbate the condition, increasing the risk of the patient to suffer from other complications. According to a recent longitudinal cohort study, published in the journal Psychiatry Research in February 2018, patients of bipolar disorder had a higher risk for traumatic brain injury (TBI).

The researchers examined data from the Longitudinal Health Insurance Database of Taiwan and collated patient information between 1998 and 2010. The patients from the bipolar group had at least one instance of psychiatric inpatient stay for their bipolar condition. They randomly selected patients in the control group (n=9044) and matched them with patients in the bipolar group (n=1017) with the ratio of 9:1, depending on age, sex, and the year of the cohort entry. They calculated the annual incidence rate of TBI as the number of new cases between 1998 and 2010 divided by a total number of people-years in the records.

Recurrent hospitalization also increased the risk for TBI

The researchers found that among patients of bipolar disorder, the incidence of subsequent TBI was higher than in the control group. During the course of the study, it was found that 5.9 percent patients of bipolar experienced TBI, while in the control group 3.2 percent patients suffered a TBI. Further, the risk for TBI was the highest in the first two years following inpatient treatment among those with bipolar disorder.

Even factors like age and medication had a bearing on the risk of experiencing a TBI. The researchers found that middle-aged patients and those prescribed psychotropic medicines to treat bipolar disorder were at a higher risk of suffering from a brain injury. Patients using antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers were also susceptible. Another risk factor that determined an increased risk for TBI was a history of recurrent hospitalization in patients. Those with higher incidence of hospitalizations had a greater risk compared to those without recurrent hospitalization.

Bipolar disorder: types, signs and symptoms

There are four types of bipolar disorder. These are:

  1. Bipolar I disorder
  2. Bipolar II disorder
  3. Cyclothymic disorder (also called Cyclothymia)
  4. Other specified and unspecified bipolar and related disorders

People suffering from bipolar disorder go through phases of unusually intense emotion, sleep disruption, changes in activity levels and exhibit weird behaviors. These upheavals in mood are referred to as mood episodes—which are completely different from normal moods and behaviors typical for the individual. Extreme shifts in energy, sleep patterns and activity are the basic characteristics of the mood episodes.

Dealing with bipolar disorder

Although bipolar disorder is a severe condition, treatment can help people manage its symptoms. If you have a loved one exhibiting signs of bipolar disorder, it is important to seek immediate help from a credible treatment center.

Sovereign Health is the premier behavioral health treatment provider in the United States offering evidence-based treatment for bipolar disorder. Call our 24/7 helpline for further information on our bipolar disorder treatment centers. You may also chat online with our mental health experts for more information about our top residential treatment centers for bipolar disorder.

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