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Bipolar Disorders and the Family

Bipolar disorder is a debilitating illness with a large cost to individuals, families, and society. Lifetime prevalence estimates are 1.0% for bipolar I and 1.1% for bipolar II and 2.4% for subthreshold bipolar disorder, according to Kathleen Merikangas and colleagues. The lifetime risk of suicide in individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder far exceeds the population norm. Bipolar disorder is highly comorbid with many disorders including substance abuse disorders, impulse control disorders, and anxiety disorders. Amid the burdens of the disorder, the family plays a significant role in the course and treatment of bipolar disorder. Family is here defined as individuals who live with and are related to the bipolar disorder individual (either biologically or adoptively). For example, family could include the bipolar disorder individual's spouse ...

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