Rates of conditions comorbid with bipolar disorder are very high, with anxiety disorders, impulse-control disorders, and drug and alcohol problems being the most distinctly over-represented conditions. Although the high rates of comorbid conditions may be overestimates--owing to measurement distortions in community surveys, and because definitions of comorbidity generally include antecedent and consequential conditions (not merely coterminous ones)--they are clinically distinctive. Clinical comorbidity can be explained by at least four different models, which each have clinical management implications. If the bipolar disorder and the comorbid conditions are deemed to be interdependent, two broad approaches are appropriate: hierarchical management strategies and sequential management strategies. Successful management of bipolar disorder often involves the development of a wellbeing plan that addresses comorbid issues iterative to the bipolar disorder.
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