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Bipolar Disorder in the Elderly

Bipolar Disorder continues into old age, neither "burning out" nor decreasing in severity. Mixed Episodes tend to be more common during this stage of life [ref].   During Major Depressive, Manic or Mixed Episodes, states of confusion can occur. 

Bipolar Disorder does not become more severe in old age, but tends to be compounded by various general medical conditions that tend to be more common among older people.   In particular, dementia, other neurological illnesses, and diabetes mellitus tend to occur quite frequently in these individuals [ref, ref]

Late-Onset Bipolar Disorder is the term used when Bipolar Disorder first begins in old age.  This occurs more frequently in women, and in these cases there tends not to be a strong family history of Bipolar Disorder [ref].  In cases of Late Onset Bipolar Disorder it is important to investigate whether there may be an underlying neurological or general medical condition causing the disorder.

 

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Bipolar Disorder in Children & Adolescents

Bipolar Disorder & Women's Health