People Wait Average of Six Years Before Bipolar Diagnosis

According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, bipolar affects about 5.7 million adults, or 2.6% of the population. Most people begin experiencing symptoms in their mid-twenties, but many do not receive a diagnosis for several years. People with bipolar go an average of six years between the onset of symptoms and a diagnosis of bipolar, according to a study published in Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.

What Causes Delay in Diagnosis?

The study, a meta-analysis of 27 previous studies, looked at 9,415 participants. Researchers consistently found that people with bipolar experienced disruptive symptoms for years before being diagnosed. The average person with bipolar waited six years for a diagnosis.

In some cases, symptoms of bipolar were mislabeled as typical adolescent moodiness. In some cases, mental health professionals also experienced difficulty distinguishing symptoms of bipolar from those of depression. A detailed family history and history of symptoms are also considered essential in the diagnosis of bipolar. Gathering this information may be a time-consuming process that some mental health professionals may overlook.

Read the full article at http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/people-wait-average-of-six-years-before-bipolar-diagnosis-0802161