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Information about bipolar disorders

What does an additional psychic disorder mean?

Many persons with a bipolar mood disorder have a so-called comorbid disorder, i.e. a disorder that additionally exists. The most frequent comorbid disorders are:

  • Alcohol or drug abuse: Alcohol (up to 60%) or drug abuse (up to 50%) occurs frequently together with a bipolar disorder. This means that 50% to 60% of the persons afflicted suffer from an additional addiction disorder at least once in the course of life. If an addiction disorder exists, this has a negative effect of the course, inter alia with more frequent episodes and more frequent hospital stays.
  • Anxiety disorders: Anxiety disorders are psychic disorders in which an excessive anxiety determines the principal psychic characteristics. The risk of suffering from an anxiety disorder at least once in life for persons afflicted by a bipolar disorder is around 70% to 90%, in which in any case 20% to 40% suffer from a so-called panic disorder, i.e. a variant of the anxiety disorder with increased panic attacks. Similarly to the case of addiction disorders, the following applies: if these comorbid disorders are not treated consistently they deteriorate the course and the prognosis of the bipolar mood disorder.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorders: Obsessive-compulsive disorders are psychic disorders in which compulsive thought and behaviour determines the psychic symptoms. Around every fifth person with a bipolar mood disorder (20%) additionally suffers from an obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • Personality disorders: Personality disorders are psychic disorders in which the personality development of the person afflicted was disturbed by various causes. Personalities which can get recognition as an illness through their strong manifestation e.g. the so-called borderline personality disorder result. Around 50% of people with a bipolar mood disorder are affected.

The above-mentioned additional disorders should in any case also be treated. This can occur through a special psychotherapy, through offers of group therapy or also through an adjustment of the medication. If you realise changes in you such as e.g. notice developing compulsions or anxieties also independently of acute phases of illness, tell this absolutely to your therapist. He / she can deal with this and thereafter treat you better. In consideration of the often direct and partly massive effects of a substance abuse or addiction this problem should be specially dealt with.

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