I was wondering what the average life expectancy is for someone who is bipolar? I've done some research online and I was unable to figure out if having bipolar affects your life expectancy or not. There wasn't a lot of information available about it, but I imagine that's because there are a lot of factors that go into determining that.
I found this but it only refers to females in a specific life situation.
"The average female with bipolar disorder with an onset at age 25 will lose, on average, 9 years in life expectancy, 14 years of lost productivity and 12 years of normal health compared with normal controls (US DHEW, 1979). This is in addition to the risk of suicide."
I recently read similar statistics. It is important for us all with Bipolar to keep our eyes on the goalie. Don't keep looking back from where you came from, but keep your eyes on where you are going. Hopefully we can change such statistics to a thing of the past.
Part of changing that is remaining in treatment. A lot of the things done that are self destructive during manic episodes and the potential of suicidal ideations during depressive episodes is what leads to this. I would think the life expectancy of a person with bipolar with what happens if treatment is discontinued factored out should be the same as anyone else. Bipolar being a psychiatric disability does not effect a person physically so it by itself should not change life expectancy. As for the long term side effects of current psychiatric medications as I've posted those will improve in the coming years as well.
I think ILADVOCATE has a point. I didn't think about it but now that I do, I think the statistic I posted is for people off treatment or maybe accounting for the delay in proper treatment some people go through or something like he said.
That's a good question and of course the long term concerns of current antipsychotics (which are now often used as first line mood stabilizers) are diabetes and tardive. With tardive a psychiatrist does a movement disorders test regularly and if its found Clozaril is still an option. With diabetes, the best way to avoid it is to maintain a proper weight, sugar and calorie intake. Some medications have specific side effects such as lithium requiring blood tests for kidney function and Depakote for liver function. If you want to know more any of the webpages linked up could provide information and the medication websites the exact statistics and of course you should speak to your psychiatrist as well. I do know that there is direct research into developing safer and more effective treatment modalities all the time and the generation of antipsychotics in Phase II FDA study the NMDA receptor modulates have not shown so far to cause diabetes or tardive and have a stronger recovery rate. Many medications are being researched for off label use as mood stabilizers that are also safer and more effective. Regardless if a person stays on medication for life the benefit/risk analysis is in their favor.
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