Optimising the management of bipolar disorder.

Mahmood, A; Ebmeler, KR; (2015) Optimising the management of bipolar disorder. The Practitioner, 259 (1782). 11-5, 2. ISSN 0032-6518

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NICE recommends that when adults present in primary care with depression, they should be asked about previous periods of overactivity or disinhibited behaviour. If this behaviour lasted for four or more days referral for a specialist mental health assessment should be considered. Although depressive episodes are not necessary for a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, they are common and dominate the lifetime pattern of the condition: 50% of the time is spent in a euthymic (well) state, 38% in a depressed and 12% in a manic state. If there have only been depressive symptoms, it is not possible to exclude bipolar disorder. A diagnosis of bipolar disorder is supported by diagnostic criteria and usually confirmed by a psychiatrist. If the GP suspects mania or severe depression, or if patients are a danger to themselves or others, an urgent referral should be made for a specialist mental health assessment. If a manic episode has been present during the history the diagnosis is bipolar I disorder, while a hypomanic episode is indicative of bipolar disorder. The patient's care plan should include current health status, social situation, social support, co-ordination arrangements with secondary care, details of early warning signs, and the patient's preferred course of action in the event of a clinical relapse. Physical health checks should focus on cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and respiratory disease given the heightened risk for these illnesses in bipolar disorder.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- )
PubMed ID: 27254890
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/4556232


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